A Freedom of Information request has revealed that a meeting took place between CRT and BaNES on 2oth March this year in connection with the Council’s assessment of the inclusion of boat dwellers in its Gypsy, Traveller and Housing Strategy. Reportedly some of the BaNES representatives present were not impressed with CRT.
BW Policy News and FOI Act Requests
It’s happening now. At the moment much discussion is going on about the corporate stance, both published and secret, of British Waterways and we are getting material flooding in. It will be heard here. The results of Freedom of Information Act requests will be also be aired here. Keep them coming.
Following a Freedom of Information request via www.whatdotheyknow.com, a boater has obtained the job descriptions and person specifications for most of the CRT/ BW enforcement team, apart from the job description for Enforcement and Licensing Manager Denise Yelland. This includes information about the numbers of staff in each position in different waterway areas.
CRT’s plans for the consultation on the K and A Local Mooring Strategy have changed again. A sub-group of the Local Waterway Partnership (formerly the Partnership Board) will review the mooring strategy and will decide what consultation is required. CRT claims this sub-group will be “independent”. At the final meeting of the Local Mooring Strategy Steering Group in October 2011 it was agreed that the Local Waterway Partnership would review the mooring strategy. BW then unilaterally disbanded the Local Mooring Strategy Steering Group before its work was complete. However, at that point BW still intended to carry out a full public consultation.
An enforcement officer’s project that consisted of intensive enforcement action against a selected group of liveaboards without home moorings provides more information about CRT/BW’s enforcement strategy. The “Final Report into non-compliance of British Waterways Continuous Cruiser regulations on the South Oxford Canal” shows that CRT/BW is sending enforcement letters to boaters that are designed to pressure them to travel longer distances, without telling them what distance is considered acceptable to avoid enforcement action.
On the day that the Canal and River Trust held its launch in London, boaters have discovered that Head of Boating Sally Ash has been the director of a canal holiday brokerage company since 2004. Liveaboard boaters have often speculated about the reason behind her department’s policy of harassment and bullying of boaters without home moorings, and this conflict of interest provides a possible explanation.
Both Houses of Parliament passed the BW Transfer Order on 27th June following debates on 25th and 26th June. In the debate in the Commons First Delegated Legislation Committee, Waterways Minister Richard Benyon announced that the Navigation Committee of the Canal and River Trust (CRT) “… will include at least one boater without a home mooring who understands and campaigns for the interests of itinerant live-aboard boaters.”
The House of Commons First Delegated Legislation Committee will consider the Draft British Waterways Board (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012 on Tuesday 26th June. Please write to your MP now asking him or her to vote against the Order when it is returned to the floor of the House of Commons for a vote a few days after the Committee has considered it. An example letter is below.