Draft minutes, 1st April Local Mooring Strategy meeting

Here are the draft minutes of the Local Mooring Strategy meeting held on 1st April

Notes:

7th Local Mooring Strategy Steering Group Meeting

10:00 – 13:00 Friday April 1st 2011

Attendees:

BW:
Damian Kemp (Chair)

K&A Trust: John Webb

VPA: Keith Rossiter and Dave Batho

IWA: Tim Wheeldon

Unaffiliated Boaters: Pamela Smith and Kevin Humphries

RBOA: Richard Burchill

NABO: Geoffrey Rogerson

AWCC: Pauline King

APCO: –

NBTA: Nick Brown

WCC: Kenneth Oliver

Damian

welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for turning up

again. He said he did not feel that introductions were necessary

now.

Sharon

Brooks from WCC will be coming in at 11:30 to explain the forthcoming

changes in legislation and to describe how they deal with equality

impact assessments at WCC.

Damian

explained that BW does not currently have an equalities officer. He

has contacted DEFRA to ask if they have anyone, but has not had a

reply yet.

Kev

(UB) gave apologies for Andy, who was not in attendance, but did

bring his map.

Damian

said that the agenda is very ambitious, so he isn’t sure that will

get through everything. He asked if we should just go through the

towpath work that has been done, or do the attendees think that we

can talk about enforcement as well.

Panda

says that we should keep Sharon Brooks’ visit on the agenda.

Kev

thinks that it depends if the towpath stuff is a general

review/sharing of info or ratification.

Damian

would like to see the work already done ratified today to make it

final.

Keith

(VPA) says that he thought that Damian was going to take the reports

and consolidate into a mooring zone map, and then we could compare

these with the existing map. You can comment on individual reports

but someone – Damian – needs to incorporate the mooring zone

recommendations into a map that can be compared with the existing

situation. Perhaps some of the other, environmental issues need to

be considered too?

Damian

says that he wants to make sure that the map isn’t still being

debated?

Keith

(VPA) asks isn’t this inevitable? Damian says he thinks maybe he is

misunderstanding.

Damian

says that we will just go through the maps now, comment on them, and

he will draw them up into a formalised map and we will look to debate

and rubber stamp it at the next meeting.

Ken

(WCC) wants to look at it carefully as a consolidated map and to have

the relevant parish council’s comment on the resulting document.

Keith

(VPA) points out that the local council elections are in May.

Pamela

(UB) says she’s just seen the piece by John Webb about the towpath

walk from Dundas to Bradford on Avon, and he says there are a number

of errors in it. She says this is the first time she’s seen it.

John says that he emailed Damian and thought he copied her in on it

yesterday. His document says everyone in the group agreed, but

Pamela says she didn’t agree. John Webb (KAT) says that he knows he

wasn’t on the whole walk, but Tim distributed the information from

Tim and Pamela, and the final version that was circulated by Damian

was almost the same except for a couple of small changes that he

thought had been agreed on.

Pamela

says she didn’t agree to everything and hasn’t had anything emailed

to her. She’s upset that she’s not received any of the

correspondence.

Dave

(VPA) interrupted to say that he’s not comfortable if there is a

problem with disjointed conversation in a particular group. It is

very difficult to understand one particular report without the

context of the others, and there seem to only be two to look at and

this is one of them.

Rich

(RBOA) says he’s not had a chance to look at the one circulated by

Dave’s (VPA) group yet, even though it was sent out a few days ago.

General

consensus is that it should be left for now as it clearly isn’t in a

state where these maps and reports can be reviewed.

Dave

(VPA) is concerned that he had understood that the idea was to have

the 4 reports ready for this meeting, but they aren’t.

There

was a discussion over some of the points over which Tim (IWA) and

Pamela (UB) disagreed that were in the report sent by John Webb

(KAT).

Tim

(IWA) says that thinks his poor computer skills are to blame for not

having sent the right attachments to Pamela (UB).

The

rest of the group had a quick look through the report that Tim (IWA)

sent.

Damian

proposes that we step away from these reviews now, and then he has so

far one digital copy that has been confirmed by all group members.

Damian can digitise Andrew’s, Rich (RBOA) has just forwarded his

group’s report to Damian. Damian will over the next few days

consolidate them into one map. On 15th April he’ll

distribute it and then this can be circulated and discussed by this

group and also the parish councils and BW.

Keith

(VPA) asked for clarification. Is Damian proposing to circulate the

map around BW before it has been ratified? Damian says yes.

Damian

doesn’t think that there are any big drastic ideas that will come

from this. He knows that Mark Stephens has some comments to make

about particular areas, but he’s not sure which areas.

Keith

(VPA) thinks that it is dangerous to circulate anything before this

group has signed off on it and decided that yes, we’ll recommend it

for these reasons. Otherwise it’s an incomplete piece of work that

we may not be happy with.

Rich

(RBOA) comments that he’s read Dave (VPA)’s group’s report and he’s

happy with that one as it is a good report. He’s read Tim, John and

Pam’s report, but that one is clearly not so finished or polished.

The issue that he can perceive is that to a degree in the area

towards to Bath from Bradford on Avon is that there is a likely

reduction in 14 day mooring space but more visitor mooring. He’s

concerned about where those boats will go. The available mooring

space up around and east of Hilperton is really far, far less than

you might imagine as the banks are in such a poor state and the canal

needs dredging. No one will move if this situation is not improved.

We need to sort this out before we can expect anyone to move.

Keith

(VPA) disputes that overall mooring space will be reduced. He says

things are being moved around.

Rich

(RBOA) does not want to have an argument, but clearly the report says

that there are more boats in that area than people would like. Let’s

just leave it for now and look at enforcement today.

John

Webb (KAT) thinks that we shouldn’t forget that we should be

reviewing mooring strategy after a year.

Dave

(VPA) says what Rich is saying is really just what we said earlier:

You have to see the big picture. If the map says there are moorings

on the map with this duration, but actually we all know that they

aren’t there, then that needs to be flagged as that is a constraint

on what we are trying to do and it has to be identified. We need to

understand the big picture between Bath and Devizes. Our strategy

has to knit together and make sense.

Tim

(IWA) asks where Mark Stephens comes into this? Is he not going to

look at the banks?

Rich

(RBOA) thinks we are fighting a lost cause here unless the damaged

banks are sorted out. The boats just won’t move.

John

Webb (KAT) thinks that if on the bit of path that has been worked on

recently between Clevedon house and Bathwick Hill, if the bank is

going to remain as a natural bank with hazel wattles and things, then

there is an issue in that for example they had a boat tied to it when

they came back, which didn’t work at all.

Kev

(UB) says that part of the issue is the boats from Bath Narrowboats

turning around and damaging the bank with prop wash. We need Mark

Stephens here to sort it out.

Rich

(RBOA) asks how often Mark has actually walked the canal. Okay he

has guys who walk along the canal but how familiar he actually is

with it?

Tim

(IWA) says that he thought he was familiar with the canal but of

course hadn’t looked at it with such a critical eye before and that

isn’t something that he had appreciated before the process was begun.

Keith

(VPA) says that the stretch that John (KAT) was mentioning is covered

in their report as an area unsuitable for mooring.

John

(KAT) says that there are other areas that they have done that are

similar that should not have boats there but that aren’t marked as no

mooring zones.

Damian

(BW) jumped in here and says that is he to understand then that we

need Mark, once everything has been ratified, we need Mark to come in

to discuss his maintenance responsibilities?

There

was some clarification then about whether or not we will have his

comments first. Yes, says Damian, we’ll show him the document first.

Kev

(UB) says we need to be certain that we are happy with it and that we

have confidently ratified the new map.

Many

murmurs of agreement.

Nick

(NBTA) asks if the groups could please agree before they ask the rest

of the group to agree. This met with general agreement.

Nick

(NBTA) then suggested that we ask Mark to overview the maps, as

originally we were told that a BW rep would be on each group and

there have not been any. He would like to see Mark Stephens’ input

on the reports.

Rich

(RBOA) says that he thinks it will be time for the strategic people

to look at it and make comments after it has been consolidated.

Nick

(NBTA) wants BW’s input before the maps are in formal circulation.

We need to be in agreement as a group and that includes BW.

Damian

says that that is why he would circulate the draft map to strategic

people (Russell Bennett, Mark Stephens, etc) in BW.

Kev

(UB) asks if Damian can do that for the next meeting in 4 weeks time?

Keith

(VPA) thinks that we need all the groups to agree first. Then Damian

has to translate that onto the map, and as Damian is only human and

may not quite manage to do it accurately we should then before the

next meeting look at the map that Damian has constructed. The group

should by email, etc make sure that they are all happy with it.

Kev

(UB) thinks that the BW input, because it is so vital to the whole

process, he wouldn’t have any objection to Russell or Mark seeing the

initial draft map, as long as they understand that it is a draft.

They are so integral to the whole process that we really need their

input. He wouldn’t circulate it to the parish councils at that

point.

Keith

and Dave (VPA) agreed.

Tim

(IWA) asks about how things are agreed?

Damian

says Mark can’t change mooring zones without the boating group within

BW agreeing. Essentially that is Sally’s team. What he can do is

look at how the canal is maintained, deciding where to dredge, where

to let reeds grow to create no-mooring zones, etc. This group is an

advisory group, and he doesn’t see any reason why anything we

suggest, so long as it is sensible and pragmatic, with clear,

well-thought out proposals, then we don’t need to fear that they will

off-handedly throw out our work in favour of their own ideas.

Dave

(VPA) thinks that when we review the map next meeting, having had it

circulated in the interim around this group, we should invite Mark

Stephens at the meeting (who should also have seen the initial draft)

and we should get his feedback and comments.

Nick

(NBTA) says that his understanding of these walks along the towpath

were also to audit what is there, not just decide on mooring or

no-mooring zones. This means also pointing out and flagging up areas

that are unsuitable for mooring. The maps at the moment are too

small, but he would like to have the GIS file so that we can do some

crunching on it and so on. Then later he can look at it and review

the before and after effects. He wants to look at the number of

boats that can actually fit in. The figures from BW give the average

length of a boat as being about 42 feet long.

Rich

(RBOA) says that he plagiarised the Nicholson’s guide, as the OS maps

that Damian circulated were not good enough to actually get the

required level of detail on.

Nick

(NBTA) wants to know what the capacity is for each mooring.

Rich

(RBOA) thinks this is a fair point. He says that there is a stretch

of canal at Seend that is very popular, but we need to know how much

space there is for boats if we are going to adjust the visitor

moorings and so ensure there is enough 14 day space elsewhere. He

thinks that Damian should bear it in mind when he does his map, so

that he knows that the comments and things are not as accurate as the

BW maps that are usually used that use GPS to give exact

measurements.

Nick

(NBTA) wants to get to the core of this, which is about how many

boats will fit in on the canal and for what purpose.

John

Webb (KAT) says he tried to do this when they went out.

Pamela

(UB) says that her group didn’t have the GIS data though so it won’t

be as accurate as she’d like.

Rich

(RBOA) says this will put stress on the existing systems on the

canal, the locks etc, the water levels, all sorts of things. We need

to bear this in mind.

ACTION:

Damian to consolidate the map by 15th April.

ACTION:

Everyone to get the information to Damian by 8th April.

NEXT

MEETING: 1st week of May. Date to be agreed.

Damian

is going to ask the GIS team to get us what we need.

Dave

(VPA) says that the scale is a problem too. The map is going to be

huge.

Nick

(NBTA) explains about the software he is using that will let him know

down to the metre with the GIS file.

Dave

(VPA) asks, won’t it actually be a series of maps, won’t it? Damian

agrees. Dave is concerned that the scale on each A3 map is the same

as well as accurate.

Tim

(IWA) points out that his map is a different size to the one that

Dave (VPA) got for his group. Dave agrees – his map didn’t have a

scale!

Pam

(UB) was concerned about the parish council representative on the

towpath walk that she did, as he accused all boaters of emptying

their toilets down the side of the embankment. She took part in the

towpath clean up and there was no evidence of any of this going on.

There was no evidence of holes having been dug or anything at all

like that either. She is concerned that this is just an example of

the sorts of prejudice that is being deliberately used to attack

live-aboard boaters.

Damian

categorically denies that BW is intentionally or unintentionally

harnessing this prejudice within parish councils. He says that this

group and the meetings are here to promote communication between the

main stakeholders. He can see a lot of the perceived predujices that

the different groups had being eroded in this forum.

Pam

(UB) says that the parish council member was also questioning the

right of the boater who had a mooring there to use other moorings

elsewhere and also to have his bicycle nearby. She felt that he was

questioning the rights of boaters to live on their boats, and to do

the things that they have a right to do and anyone in a house has a

right to do.

Damian

thinks that in situations like this, although it is hard, it is often

best to swallow your opinions and do your best to get on.

Tim

(IWA) and Dave (VPA) says that the individual is not a parish

councillor, he was just representing the parish council and is

someone who knows the canal and lives nearby.

Rich

(RBOA) says this is a shame but it shouldn’t affect our opinions as

we in this group know it is wrong.

John

Webb (KAT) was not of the opinion that the chap was as bad as is

being made out, and it is unfair to criticise the individual while

he’s not here to defend himself.

Pam

(UB) explains that this is just an example of the attitudes that have

to be dealt with.

Tim

(IWA) says those attitudes aren’t around this table.

Rich

(RBOA) agrees that these aren’t opinions held by anyone here, and he

agrees that it is very unpleasant and not something that should be

encouraged, but this is why he and Pam and everyone are here.

Nick

(NBTA) thinks it is an important perspective. He wasn’t in a group

and he’s had the comments reported to him. From what he’s heard the

comments are extremely inappropriate and very offensive. If the

person is an individual, then okay you can’t do anything, but if he

is representing the VPA then serious questions need to be raised as

his behaviour has been highly inappropriate.

Dave

(VPA) says it is hard to do anything when he’s really only got the

opinions of people here and they are all saying different things.

There is nothing we can do about it without having been there.

Rich

(RBOA) says that he thinks it would be a good time to take a break.

Dave

(VPA) and Keith (VPA) disagree that parish councils are having their

prejudices manipulated by BW and say that the councils are not

anti-liveaboard, or anti-boaters. They are for the KA canal and are

trying to play their part. They are not interested in what is going

on elsewhere.

Pam

(UB) asked if they are aware of what being done in the Midlands by BW

when they are contacting parish councils up there.

Dave

(VPA) says that he thinks it isn’t relevant to this discussion here.

We as a group have made a lot of progress and a lot of prejudices on

all sides have been shown to be incorrect. He says that the arguments

that Pam is bringing in are corrosive but don’t reflect what he and

Keith actually think.

Pam

(UB) thinks that they should be aware of what BW is trying to do

nationally. It seems that they are trying to remove particular types

of boaters from the systems.

Dave

(VPA) says that this isn’t what we are suggesting here. He would

have a lot to say about it if BW rejects the proposals that we make

and just kick everyone off.

Keith

(VPA) thinks that these meetings have been really helpful in making

sure that people are better informed on all sides.

The

group took a break at this point.

 

Damian

introduced Sharon Brookes, Equality and Policy Inclusion officer.

Sharon

thanked the group for having her here today. She explained what she

is going to talk to everyone about. She invited everyone to ask

questions as she went.

Sharon

asked how familiar everyone is with the phrase “equality impact

assessment”. There were some uncertain comments. Most people had

heard it but weren’t entirely sure what it was.

Keith

(VPA) asks about the legislative back-up?

Sharon:

Prior to the new equalities act that came in last October, it was a

very prescriptive process and everyone went down the route of really

investing in the process which sort of misses the point as it forgets

the end product and is very process heavy.

They

used the equalities and human rights’ commission’s template thinking

it would be very clever. It was actually huge. Pages and pages, and

it totally disengaged people and put them off. On the 5th,

the new general equality duty comes in. This is general. Also about

fostering communications and so on.

Wiltshire

council like to try to go way beyond what is actually the base

requirements.

Everyone

felt that the last one was very much too hands off, too much of a

light touch. Don’t know if the new duty will do what it should. New

one just been put out. Government is being less and less

prescriptive. Reducing the onus on WCC to publish their information.

Could be a range of things, user service profiles, who they employ,

etc.

Lib

Dem’s are very supportive of equalities work but in the coalition it

seems to be running the other way.

What

WCC are doing is attempting to develop an easier approach to EIAs

(equalities impact assessment) in advance of the duty.

Consultation

ends around the end of April. Should know by June/July what it will

look like.

Previous

template had only very broad human rights questions. People often

don’t really know how that relates to them and so don’t know how to

respond to it. They are attempting to get mini case studies and

things so that they can help people to fill these in properly.

Working

with IDA now local gov improvement and development, and they are

helping WCC to “be smarter” particularly at strategic level, as

that tends to get missed. Need to be able to check communicative

impact. In current climate with tough financial decisions being made

it is really important to look at these things.

She

showed the group a Z card, with a summary of the approach on it. It

is like a tiny booklet folded up in a zig-zag shape. This is to be

put on the table and used to stimulate debate. The first question to

ask yourself if your piece of work is going to affect different

members of the community in different ways. If the answer is yes

then you do need to look at equality issues. You need to know where

your data gaps might be, to look at how you are communicating

decisions that are made, how you will review it, etc.

Geoffrey

(NABO) asks if she is there because WCC has an equalities officer.

Sharon

isn’t sure about where the team came from as she’s only been there

for 18 months. The agenda is everyone in the council’s

responsibility.

Geoffrey

(NABO) says that BW as a gov dept not a quango should also have an

equalities officer or dept or whatever. He asks if we can find out

if BW has anyone responsible for equalities issues.

Damian

says at the moment he thinks it is done on a case by case basis and

that there is no one person. It is just done when it is needed.

Geoffrey

asks if there is anyone looking at national mooring strategy, at

these groups for instance?

Damian

says no, the group of stakeholders are taking on that responsibility.

Keith

(VPA) asks what happens if a group doesn’t carry out a EIA?

Sharon

says you could be subject to challenge from anyone in the community.

There are case studies for example in London, where people have been

accused of not doing a EIA. They couldn’t show they had done one and

they lost in court. You could be challenged; you may have to reverse

decisions, etc.

Rich

(RBOA) says then we are asking who is responsible then, is it the

group or BW who is coordinating the groups.

Damian

says BW can’t do this without the group’s input. Sharon has said she

will assist in this group generating an EIA.

Sharon

says that she is doing something similar with another group (not a

mooring strategy group), and the information is being fed back in.

Rich

(RBOA) says we can’t leave this to BW, we have to be actively

involved. It would be useful to have some bullet points and key

things to keep in mind as we are discussing the issues. He thinks it

would make the process simpler.

Geoffrey

asks if BaNES would be happy with WCC doing the EIA?

Keith

(VPA) says that BaNES have shown no interest and anyway it is this

group not WCC doing the EIA.

Rich

(RBOA): It is kind of the group’s responsibility, and we have been

bogged down a bit because we had assumed that Mayur, who had been

with us, was going to help or do it for us and that clearly isn’t the

case. We need to keep the spirit of it in the framework of

everything we do so that we are using it as a tool. Then when we

draw up the conclusions at the end of this we can say that we have

done it all in the spirit of this.

Kev

(UB) asks if Rich is trying to say we have one less job to do?

Rich

(RBOA) says well, sort of. Maybe we don’t need to do the paperwork,

but we do need to bear it all in mind.

Ken

(WCC) says we need to have evidence that an EIA has been done. We

need to make sure that the entire affected area is included, not just

the boats, not just the local house-holder communities, etc. At the

end of it we have to come back and review it and say “we considered

this, this and this as part of the equality impact”. We need to be

covered for equality law.

Sharon

says that really, we must consider it all the way through. You can’t

get to the end of the process and then look at equality impact.

Rich

(RBOA) thinks that so far it’s been included because most people are

represented here, and the nature of the group is like that, but some

guidelines and key points would be really useful.

Sharon

says yes, she can try to produce something for us. Kev (UB) asks for

a side of A4? Don’t want too much.

John

Webb (KAT) asks if the conduct of the group is affected, in terms of

things like numbers of people represented and the system used to

reach a consensus. He thinks that it should extend to the process

adopted to make decisions.

Sharon

says yes, good practice includes making fair decisions and having the

right representation is part of it.

John

Webb (KAT) asks if that means we (well, Damian) need then to come up

with a document about how we will do that?

Sharon

says that you need to do it so you can see if there are any gaps in

who is represented here and who is communicated with. If they are

looking at staff issues at work they have to be careful who is

involved to make it meaningful and to ensure that all issues are

addressed.

John

Webb (KAT) just wants to make sure that we have proportionate

representation of all groups.

Dave

(VPA) is really concerned that BaNES have not shown any interest in

the whole process. He and Keith are here representing the VPA, who

span both Wiltshire and Bath, and none of the people in Bath are

being represented around this table. This is a real issue here.

They’ve been invited, but they’ve not shown any interest. Could

Sharon talk to her opposite number in BaNES and help to do something

about this?

Sharon

says she has spoken to Samantha Jones about this and they agreed that

only one of them needed to go, but she will feed back the group’s

comments. She is sure that Sam would be happy to follow that up.

Keith

(VPA) says that they have tried to shake up BaNES and to have some

influence.

Ken

(WCC) says that the public report that they are writing up will also

go to BaNES too. If they suddenly decide having seen it that they

don’t agree with it then we’ll all have a lot of trouble.

Rich

(RBOA) suggests that Damian needs to write a strong letter?

Ken

(WCC) says if they haven’t got the people, they haven’t got the

people. A decision maker in BaNES needs to be involved somehow and

to be kept informed. We are noting now that we have done our very

best to be inclusive and they have chosen not to take part.

On

the John Rennie in Sidney Wharf, there is the first meeting of the

Pilot Kennet and Avon Waterway Partnership Board on 6th April, and

there will be a BaNES representative there.

Sharon

asks if anyone has any other questions?

Pam

(UB) asks what the situation would be if an EIA was carried out, and

the proposals were found to have a significant adverse impact on one

particular group, what would happen then?

Sharon

says it would be difficult for her to answer but it would be

something for the group to revisit. The assessment is to determine

if there will be an adverse impact. You can say yes there will be an

impact, and we had hoped to do X to avoid it, but because of funding

cuts we can’t.

Rich

(RBOA) so the important task is to identify the problem?

Sharon

says yes. This helps to focus your ongoing work. The review bit is

also key. You need to know where you started from. The duty is to

do the analysis work. It does not currently specify what if anything

is done. The onus is on the group to decide whether or not anything

should be done.

Rich

(RBOA) says, well, as we are the advisory group giving advice to BW,

doesn’t that mean that they need to make their own assessments too,

as they will be implementing it.

Dave

(VPA) is concerned about how we will know if our EIA is done well

enough.

Kev

(UB) asks if Sharon can QA our EIA?

Sharon

says yes, that is what she sees as her role.

Dave

(VPA) says this whole thing goes out into the wider world and anyone

can question the integrity, so we need a professional to underwrite

it. Is Sharon going to do that formally?

Sharon

says informally it isn’t a problem but she will have to check whether

she could do it formally.

Ken

(WCC) doesn’t think that Wiltshire Council will be able to underwrite

it.

Nick

(NBTA) is concerned that the group is not necessarily competent to do

the EIA acceptably.

Ken

(WCC) disagrees. Sharon is here to advise the group. No one is

going to take any individual in the group to court. They might go to

BW and say that this advisory group has given you faulty advice, but

BW has to sign off on it.

Rich

(RBOA) emphasises that BW are ultimately accountable.

Damian

agrees. He feels that once BW have endorsed it, they are ultimately

responsible.

Sharon

says that the group members here are the experts. She appreciates

what is being said. She thinks that everyone should see how they

feel when they’ve started.

Dave

(VPA) says that those who come up with core strategy for BW, the

individual groups don’t sit and do EIA’s individually. The authority

at the top does it. He’s looking for that extra layer of authority.

Ken

(WCC) says it is really the other way around. You can’t get to the

end of the process and then realise that some things are unsuitable.

Dave

(VPA) says that isn’t what he means, he wants to see a team of EIA

people looking at it as it is going along.

Sharon

says maybe Dave is outlining what she was saying earlier? At

strategic level people often struggle because there isn’t enough

information to go on. You need to be thinking at this high,

strategic level to avoid missing anything.

Geoffrey

(NABO) asks if we should then be drawing attention to particular

equality issues that we’ve identified, possibly with advice, so that

BW can decide what to do about them?

Rich

(RBOA) says that we as a group may not come to a decision on

everything, but we should be advising BW on the decisions that we

have made and how it affects the different groups. We’re just

covering the bases.

Dave

(VPA) wants to know where the pilot partnership board fits into this

all as it isn’t just BW.

Damian

is going to try to find out on Wednesday how far their remit is going

to extend. He thinks there will be a fair amount of fumbling in the

dark initially. He can’t answer the question at the moment.

Dave

(VPA) asks if we as a group want the pilot partnership board to look

at this?

Kev

(UB) is proud of what has been done so far, and the amount of work

that has gone into it. He doesn’t want to send it off to some board

who will just go “yeah, that’s not really what we were thinking of”

and throw it out the window. There are so many different parties

represented here. We’ve got to believe that this is the way forward

and that everyone is going to take heed and look at it and act on it.

John

(KAT) says that if the partnership board is going to be involved in

the management of the canal, etc, he isn’t sure how they could not be

involved.

Kev

(UB) sees this as being the foundations to be given to the future BW

to use as their starting block for what they do from now on. This

has got to be given the amount of respect that it deserves.

Damian

says he has the same concerns as Dave, as it is going to be

inevitable that we will have to interact with the pilot KA

partnership board. A lot of the members of the board have

representation around this table. He thinks the expertise around

this table will be appreciated. He doesn’t think that it is going to

be something that is off-handedly dismissed.

Keith

(VPA) says that the VPA has some issues with the partnership board.

Nick

(NBTA) says that he is concerned that there is no obvious intention

to conduct an EIA on this process. When Sharon says that it comes

into force on the 5th, some of it is already in force.

Which bits come in on the 5th?

Sharon

says the section on the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Nick

(NBTA) asks Sharon to interact with Damian on this, who can then

forward the details onto the group. ACTION. Nick is concerned about

the fact that we’ve not been looking at an EIA up to this point means

that there are problems as we’ve not been considering it for the

entire lifetime of the group. Sally Ash said originally that we

would look at it at the end.

Damian

disagrees as the issues have been debated, sometimes very

passionately, even though it wasn’t a formal or prescriptive EIA. We

also had Mayur in from the start. He was tearing his hair out but he

was comfortable that the group was paying due regard to the impact.

Damian feels he can comfortably put at the end that we have been

considering equality from the outset.

Sharon

says that even though it wasn’t done so formally before, when it

changes and it happens that bit is the part that is more hands-off.

Now we are looking at getting it right from the new duty’s point of

view. The part that has come in from October is about protected

characteristics. Discrimination by association is new (eg parent of

a disabled child may be discriminated against, even though he/she is

not disabled). The specific duties are out for review again.

Nick

(NBTA) asks if the general duties didn’t apply before then?

Sharon

says disability, race and gender is addressed by the single duty.

One or two of the protected characteristics won’t be in the duty,

e.g. marriage and civil partnership. In this case it has a very

specific role in a different piece of legislation. That will be more

helpful than the segregated approach. People often have multiple

issues.

Sharon

says that particular philosophies are covered by beliefs.

Pam

(UB) asked what remedies are available to a group who have been

highlighted as being disproportionately impacted by a decision which

has been carried out despite it being shown as having a

disproportionate adverse impact in a EIA.

Sharon

says that you have to be careful with this and balance impact on one

group with impact on another that would result from making allowances

for the first group. Legally speaking you are back to the challenge.

Everyone

thanked Sharon.

Sharon

confirmed in closing that she needed to bring Z-cards for people and

also a summary.

Sharon

asked about that particular query that Nick (NBTA) has about section

1479 (?). Could that be sent to her so she can follow it up? Nick

said yes.

Sharon

says that the group should let her know if it would be helpful for

her to come back and discuss anything at any point.

There

were many murmurs of thanks and agreement that her coming back would

be useful.

Dave

(VPA) asks about how this will now move on. Will the draft document

go to the partnership or not?

John

(KAT) says that he thinks there was some sort of plan and he thinks

that it isn’t until October that the final thing would come up?

Damian?

Damian

says it will definitely go to the partnership board. We need to

decide whether or not we are asking them to ratify it or to take it

as this is what is happening. That depends to quite an extent on

what they see their remit as. Obviously BW can veto anything decided

by a voluntary group. When we go to the board there will be very

little room for the partnership to say no to if the navigation

authority (BW) have said they are happy and have signed off on it.

Keith

(VPA) asks about the navigation authority status of BW?

Damian

says that even with everything changing with regard to BW’s

structure, etc, the new BW will still have all the same powers and

duties in essence. Will just be in the third sector.

John

(KAT) emphasises that Mike Rodd and Mark Stephens are the two main

players, who are hopefully going to support what we have put forward.

He takes Kev’s (UB) bullish approach that we’ve worked really hard

on this and are the domain experts, and so what we’ve produced should

not be thrown out.

Damian

agrees that we are all doing this on the expectation that it will be

implemented (at least in the large part), so he’s expecting them to

take it up.

Kev

(UB) thinks that they really will have to come up with a really,

really good reason if they decide to reject anything.

Geoffrey

(NABO) asks about Sally Ash’s role in this?

Damian

says that Sally will be involved and will have the sign off on any

changes to moorings. Any over-riding environmental obligations will

overrule Sally.

Rich

(RBOA) reiterated the actions so far. So now with only half an hour

left, we need to look at enforcement, even if only to discuss it very

briefly so we have an idea of what we are going to be talking about

next time.

John

(KAT) says, learning by the mistakes with some groups not having

managed to agree quite yet on their reports. For us to have a

meaningful conversation and discussion of enforcement and

neighbourhoods next meeting, would it be useful if we submitted ideas

from our breakaway groups in advance to Damian before the next

meeting? Maybe we should have written submissions a fortnight before

the meeting in May. He’s thinking one or two pages on each subject.

Damian

is struggling to think how we are going to march through designing a

new enforcement function for the western end of the KA. That is

certainly one way it could be done.

Kev

(UB) thinks it is a good idea as it should help speed things up and

won’t take up so much valuable talking time.

Rich

(RBOA) asks, to clarify, are we coming up with an operational system

to run the enforcement?

John

(KAT) says yes. He thinks that perhaps Damian could clarify on

enforcement as his present understanding is that we don’t have any

remit or knowledge to do a costed business plan for it. We can come

up with ideas on how best it could operate.

Rich

(RBOA) is concerned that we’ve not worked out the system that we

would enforce yet.

Kev

(UB) says that we’re just asking for ideas on enforcement for next

time.

Keith

(VPA) wants to ensure that they are short, concise bullet points, not

long verbose documents.

Nick

(NBTA) would like to see what the headings are.

Rich

(RBOA) suggests that we start with what we agree on and work from

there.

Nick

(NBTA) thinks it is easier to write words under headings.

John

(KAT) wants flexibility so doesn’t think setting headings is a good

idea.

Kev

(UB) says his suggestion for places would involve mile markers, and

that is it.

Pam

(UB) says there used to be mile markers.

Tim

(IWA) says they were quarter mile markers, and some are still there.

Dave

(VPA) says maybe you can look at that with the group that walked the

canals.

John

(KAT) thinks you need to look at the whole section and maybe the

whole canal.

Dave

(VPA) meant to just use those groups.

Kev

(UB) thinks that some of the groups that walked those sections will

have trouble coming up with cohesive ideas.

Rich

(RBOA) says leave it open, work with someone else if you want to.

This

was met with murmurs of agreement.

Damian

would like these as early as possible. Absolute latest would be 13th

April.

John

(KAT) says on the agenda, there is John Froggatt’s having to leave

part way through the last meeting. Now Denise isn’t coming in his

place as had originally been stated. What is going on as we need to

make sure there is no imbalance?

Damian

says he is in touch with the chair of APCO, Nigel, who will try to

find a name by the end of next week. If that doesn’t work he’ll ask

Susie in BW, who deals with commercial boating matters, who can then

suggest someone.

John

(KAT) asks about slipping time-scales?

Damian

says he is keen to start implementing things in 3 months’ time. If

we can look at the zoning at the next meeting then that is a big

chunk of the work done. All that remains is how quickly we can get

enforcement done.

Several

people pointed out that it is coming up to holiday season.

Damian

says there is one final agenda item. This is the recent legal case,

and the adjudication was given yesterday. BW are very happy that the

judge said that he favoured BW’s interpretation of Section 17, but he

does, and BW concede, that there will be boaters who will be

continuous cruisers who will fulfil the 1995 act but not conform

with the guidelines. So the guidelines will be changed. So

‘progressive’ and ‘significant’ will most likely be dropped. The

really difficult thing is the bit that is still ambiguous: How wide

a range of cruising is sufficient? The full judgement will be on the

BW website by close of play Wednesday. The judge has said that you

can’t for the purposes of maintaining a job or social circle cruise

only a short stretch of canal.

Rich

(RBOA) says that what Sally said at the beginning is that we would

choose or decide what these lengths are locally.

Geoffrey

(NABO) says it would be difficult. You would need to know what you

are conforming to when you come to the KA. It’s going to be

different on the Mersey and on the Lea and here. You can’t have

people deciding locally on something national.

Nick

(NBTA) says it depends on whether or not mooring is an adjunct to

navigation or the other way around.

Damian

says, he thinks, the judge’s point is that if the primary use is as a

home not for navigation, then it isn’t bona fide navigation.

There

was some discussion on how it should be interpreted.

This

lead onto a discussion about what is being decided here, about

whether it should be viewed with the national situation in mind or

kept local. There seems to have been some confusion about this.

Geoffrey

(NABO) says that Sally Ash’s presentation to the Trent & Mersey

equivalent of this group says they are doing the same as we are

doing. Making the same decisions, coming up with different

interpretations and ignoring national law and national issues.

Damian

says that their BW lawyers will make sure there is nothing illegal.

He says that coming up with a local strategy is the point. It is

local.

Pam

(UB) highlights that this is going to be a huge problem if you move

from one waterway to another.

Damian

says this is the issue already because “place” is different in

different places.

Pam

(UB) says this is a violation of article 6 of the human rights act as

the law has to be in a state such that you know whether you are on

the right side or not.

Tim

(IWA) says isn’t this the same as needing a different windlass? How

do you find that out?

Pam

(UB) says that this is different. You can tell when a windlass

doesn’t fit. You can’t tell if you aren’t’ complying with the local

mooring strategy until the enforcement officers step in.

The

meeting ended there.

The

next meeting will be Monday 9th May starting at 13:00, in

the KA Trust building as it was today.

 

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply