CRT has conceded that it cannot lawfully specify a minimum distance that boaters without home moorings must travel in order to comply with Section 17 3 c ii of the 1995 British Waterways Act. In a background paper for a meeting on 28 November 2012, in response to a question “why can’t you make it simpler and just tell us how far it’s necessary to move? ” that had been raised before the meeting, Sally Ash stated:
“We would if we could but it’d be wrong and we’d be going beyond our powers. “Place” can only be defined within a local context. That’s why we’re trying to develop local mooring plans in true cooperation with all sections of the boating community”.
CRT also confirmed in the background paper that it has dropped the enforcement target of putting all boats that travel less than 30km during their contract period into the enforcement process, stating that the target was unrealistic.
We see little evidence of true co-operation with “all sections” of the boating community here on the K&A in the light of Sally Ash’s rubbishing of the views of the liveaboard boaters on the Local Mooring Strategy Steering Group and her unilateral termination of the steering group in late 2011 just as it was reaching a consensus.
Sally Ash also conceded that the judgement in BW v Davies is not legally binding; the background paper also said “In making a judgement in the Davies case in 2010, a Bristol county court judge said that moving to and fro along a 10 mile stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal did not amount to bona fide navigation. This is a steer but not legally binding for other areas”. Judgements made in a county court are not binding, even on another county court.
This is a a significant U-turn from Ms Ash’s original statement in a press release on 1 April 2011 which stated “The decision of the Learned Judge in the case of British Waterways v Davies will be binding on lower courts (and District Judges) and persuasive on Circuit Judges throughout England and Wales.” This vastly over-stated BW’s legal position; apart from anything else, there are no lower courts with jurisdiction to hear Section 8 cases.
The meeting on 28 November took place between continuous cruisers; CRT Trustee John Dodwell; the CRT boating team and CRT enforcement staff. It was initiated by continuous cruiser Peter Macdonald as a result of discussions with Mr Dodwell in which Mr Macdonald raised his concerns about the CRT Council briefing on Non-Compliant Continuous Cruising published in October 2012 – see our article http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/wordpress/generic-solutions-or-final-solutions-our-analysis-of-crts-briefing-paper-on-non-compliant-continuous-cruising/
The meeting, at CRT head office in Milton Keynes, discussed a range of other issues of concern to boaters without home moorings. Contrary to the CRT Council briefing on Non-Compliant Continuous Cruising, CRT also conceded that overstaying on visitor moorings was not a problem caused by itinerant liveaboard boaters and that boaters with moorings were just as likely to disregard visitor mooring time limits.
Also present at the meeting was David Fletcher, chair of NABO, and Ivor Caplan, one of the four private boater representatives elected to the CRT Council, who is an officer of both the IWA and the RBOA.
You can download Sally Ash’s background paper and the minutes of the meeting here
You can contact Peter Macdonald on email@example.com