The House of Lords will debate the Draft British Waterways Board (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012 in the Grand Committee on Monday 25th June. Please write to as many Lords as you can before Monday asking them to vote against the Order. We have included an example letter below.
Where it can be said or thought.
On 27th March, the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee decided to trigger the “super affirmative” procedure for the BW Transfer Order. This means that the time for consideration by Parliamentary Committees is 60 days (normally it is 40) and it must be approved by both Houses of Parliament following a debate in each. The 60 days ends on 24 May 2012 and the debates will take place sometime after 30 May. Seven days notice of the debates will be given and this will be posted on www.parliament.uk. This means that there is still some more time to lobby MPs and Lords about the Transfer Order, up to the start of June. Please write to your MP.
Five liveaboard boaters attended the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee on 24 April, to observe Robin Evans, the BW Chief Executive; Nigel Johnson, BW’s Legal Director, and Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP being cross-examined by the Committee about the Draft British Waterways (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012. The boaters observing included Frank Kelly, who stood for election to the Canal and River Trust Council, and Nick Brown, Legal Officer of the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA), who sent this report:
The draft Order to transfer British Waterways to the Canal and River Trust has been published and is currently being scrutinised by two Parliamentary Committees. It will also be debated in both the House of Commons and House of Lords. Despite many boaters lobbying and submitting evidence when the Public Bodies Bill (now an Act of Parliament) was being drafted, the issue of British Waterways was not discussed at all in the House of Commons committee on the Bill. The subject of the transfer order is BW alone, so it is vital that we take the opportunity to raise all the issues about the risks of homelessness to boat dwellers (both with and without permanent moorings) that arise from the transfer of BW to charity status. The deadline for submissions to the Committees is this Monday 19th March so write to them now!
The anti-liveaboard Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has been elected to three of the four private boater places on the Canal and River Trust Council. Clive Henderson, Ivor Caplan and Keith Welch, all connected with the IWA, gained the most votes with Ann Farrell in fourth place. The two boating business places were taken by Nigel Stevens, owner of Shire Cruisers hire boats and a past Chair of BWAF, and Anthony Matts.
On 29 February the Government laid before Parliament the draft order under the Public Bodies Act 2011 to transfer the functions of British Waterways to the Canal and River Trust. A Freedom of Information request has confirmed that no application to register the Canal and River Trust as a charity has been made – so there’s still time to object to the Charity Commission.
Waterways Minister Richard Benyon has issued a Red Tape Challenge asking the public which aspects of waterways legislation should be repealed. He wants people to respond before 23rd March 2012. You can respond on the web site
or you can send a private submission to the Red Tape Team at
Voting for the Canal and River Trust Council starts tomorrow, 8th February. Liveaboard boater Frank Kelly, who helped to prevent BW from introducing its draconian and unlawful mooring strategy for the River Lea, is standing for election to one of the four private boater places on the Council.