CRT moves “Mooring Guidance” goalposts again at IWA behest

The CRT has changed the Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring without any consultation with those likely to be affected. The change moves the Guidance even further away from what was intended by Parliament when it passed Section 17 3 c ii of the 1995 British Waterways Act. The boat licence terms and conditions have been changed to reflect the change of name from BW to CRT. However, in doing this CRT took the opportunity to make changes to the Guidance which Sally Ash described in an email to user groups as “small changes” and that “none of these is of huge significance”. We disagree – the changes are of considerable significance to boaters without home moorings.

The changes mean that instead of saying that boat movement must “normally” be from A to B to C, the cruising pattern of boaters without home moorings must be in the form of a progressive journey. The Guidance was revised in some detail in 2011, following the judgement in BW v Davies in Bristol County Court. This was because the judge stated that he did not fully endorse BW’s previous version of the Guidance.

We can only assume that the change was made at the behest of the all-powerful IWA (Inland Waterways Association), which holds 75% of the boater representation on the CRT Council. The IWA has ratcheted up its war on itinerant liveaboard boaters, as declared in its August 2012 bulletin. The IWA recently held a meeting with Sally Ash about the so-called problem of “continuous moorers” and has stated its support for the “progressive journey”. We would remind CRT and IWA that Section 17 3 c ii of the 1995 British Waterways Act does not specify any particular cruising pattern, minimum distance or no-return within period, over and above not spending more than 14 continuous days in any one place – or longer if it is reasonable in the circumstances.

The relevant paragraph of the 2011 version of the Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring reads:

“Place”

The law requires that stops during such cruising should not be “in any one place for more than 14 days”.   “Place” in this context means a neighbourhood or locality, NOT simply a particular mooring site or position.

Therefore to remain in the same neighbourhood for more than 14 days is not permitted. The necessary  movement from one neighbourhood to another can be done in one step or by short gradual steps. What the  law requires is that, if 14 days ago the boat was in neighbourhood A, by day 15 it must be in neighbourhood  B. Thereafter, the next movement must NORMALLY be to neighbourhood C, and not  back to neighbourhood A (with obvious exceptions such as reaching the end of a terminal waterway or  reversing the direction of travel in the course of a genuine cruise).

This has been changed to:

“Place”

The law requires that stops during such cruising should not be “in any one place for more than 14 days”.  “Place” in this context means a neighbourhood or locality, NOT simply a particular mooring site or position.

Therefore to remain in the same neighbourhood for more than 14 days is not permitted. The necessary  movement from one neighbourhood to another can be done in one step or by short gradual steps. What the  law requires is that, if 14 days ago the boat was in neighbourhood A, by day 15 it must be in neighbourhood  B OR FURTHER AFIELD. Thereafter, the next movement must be AT LEAST to neighbourhood C, and not  back to neighbourhood A (with obvious exceptions such as reaching the end of a terminal waterway or  reversing the direction of travel in the course of a genuine cruise).

You can download a document marking the changes to the licence Terms and Conditions here Licence T+Cs comparison Oct 11 with CRT rebrand aug 2012
Here are the new Terms and Conditions without the changes marked: GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR BOAT LICENCES AUG 2012
You can read the IWA’s latest attack on itinerant liveaboard boaters here: https://www.waterways.org.uk/news_campaigns/bulletins/iwa_bulletin_mid_august_2012

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3 Responses to “CRT moves “Mooring Guidance” goalposts again at IWA behest”

  1. Editor MonsterID Icon Editor says:

    We publish the comment from SallyCRT with a Health Warning. In case anyone doesn’t know, SallyCRT is Sally Ash, Head of Boating at the Canal & River Trust, formerly BW. So we should take anything she says with a large pinch of salt. To define “neighbourhoods” in order to “help both boaters and the Trust to determine whether the movements of a boater with no home mooring are compliant with our requirements” is unlawful, since Section 17 3 c ii of the 1995 British Waterways Act does not either define “place” or specify any particular cruising pattern or minimum distance that must be travelled to comply.

    The changes to the Guidance do not ensure greater consistency between the Davies judgement and the Guidance, they do just the opposite. The Guidance was re-written in 2011 by BW in order to reflect the judgement and a number of senior BW staff spent a lot of time on the re-write. Surely they would have got it right first time?

    These changes and the inclusion in the licence Terms and Conditions of “overstay charges” on visitor moorings, which are effectively fines (CRT has no lawful authority to impose fines for overstaying) were announced soon after the IWA reported its declaration of war on itinerant boat dwellers and boasted about its meeting with Sally Ash in which she shared “her plans to tackle the situation”. Of course, the closeness in the timing of these events is just a co-incidence

    Ms Ash’s message to user groups said that the revised Terms and Conditions had been published. This is entirely different from an invitation to “let us know if they felt that any of the changes were indeed of material significance” What’s the point of inviting User Groups to comment on something after it has been published?

  2. SallyCRT MonsterID Icon SallyCRT says:

    The trigger for the alteration to the second paragraph of ‘Place’ explanation came about from detailed work on the K&A mooring plan. This will ultimately define ‘neighbourhoods’ in order to help both boaters and the Trust to determine whether the movements of a boater with no home mooring are compliant with our requirements. We do not yet know what the neighbourhood definitions will be, but it is conceivable that some, or even many, could be very short, such that the distance A-B-C is less than the ten miles which the Judge in the case of British Waterways v. Davies ruled to be insufficient to be deemed as bona fide navigation. All that this change does is to ensure that there is consistency between this Judgement and our mooring guidance.
    I can confirm that there have been no discussions on this technical detail with IWA or with any other boater organisation. We circulated a tracked change version of the revision, which was primarily issued to change the branding from British Waterways to Canal & River Trust, to representatives of national boating organisations, including the National Bargee Travellers Association, inviting them to let us know if they felt that any of the changes were indeed of material significance. I have not received any response from the National Bargee Travellers Association.

  3. Paul Biddy MonsterID Icon Paul Biddy says:

    mmm… they’re using section 43 to make radical changes. question has to be, do these changes accurately reflect / enhance / support section 17. obviously not = ultra vires.

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