Local NABO rep furious at BW’s decision to disband local mooring strategy group

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The NABO rep for the south of England, Andy Colyer, has publicly condemned BW’s unlilateral decision to disband the Local Mooring Strategy Steering Group. “I told you so” he said

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Piss up, brewery

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

These words will be contained in a description of almost any work carried out by British Waterways.

I walked 3 miles home tonight, bit chilly out. I should have cycled home but I had a puncture, another one.

Everyone I know who cycles, so most boaters, in the Limpley Stoke valley has had multiple punctures recently.


Because the organisation that can’t even think of a name for itself, had the hedgerow flailed and didn’t clear up the trimmings leaving the path strewn with thorns.

They have been notified. They have done nothing. Complaints have been made about this, there has been no reply yet because BW always take as long as they can to respond.

Make sure you have a postal address before waterways charity elections!

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

We have had this message from Becks on Pilgrim who travelled to London this summer for work. She found some gorgeous spots along the K and A and enjoyed the Thames, with the lock keepers and big white plastic boats hurtling past. She spent time in a marina in north west London and travelled through the Lee Valley where she found the boating community there welcoming and friendly. She says

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Our take on BW’s revised Guidance

Friday, October 14th, 2011

BW’s revised Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring follows a meeting with user groups on 23 June. BW has stated that there will be no further consultation or review of this guidance. Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring differs from the draft revision published by BW in April following the judgement in the BW v Davies case.

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Anarchists Ahoy!

Friday, September 16th, 2011

We spotted this on one of the blogs that likes to keep up with our doings;

“Well done sue, a separate boat licence for those who wish to stay in one place to work etc, not paying for moorings or marina berths like the rest of us, taking up prime towpath moorings near towns should be charged at a premium!
As for the kanda website i have been aware of it for some time now and have concluded from the fact that they are obviously well organised and researched that they may be more than mere troublemakers and could in fact be some kind of anarchist contingent!
I am following you’re blog with interest and would like to hear others opinions on how to can deal with this potential menace! David”

I think you’ll find, David, that we are far more than a ‘potential’ menace but thank you for the compliments, we like to think our research is good.

Now off to try and organise a cup of tea.

Policy and Law Reform Objectives for Boat Dwellers Proposed

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A boaters’ group has proposed that the transfer of British Waterways to charity status would be an ideal opportunity to put in place statutory protection for the homes of all boat dwellers in the UK. Currently there is no legal recognition of the homes of boat dwellers (a boat is a chattel in law) and no statutory protection from eviction.

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Dog Loo

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

We have received a message from Simon Greer who says:

A new BW Van design

A Simon Greer Creation. BW were invited to advise on what they are doing about this massive problem. They have responded as below. Toxocariasis is what makes you blind. Perhaps BW have it?

BW saw this spoof advertisement on 19 April and Simon Salem of BW responded the following day. He advised that BW cannot sort out this problem because they do not have the necessary legal power. Instead they have a voluntary code. I have asked why BW cannot use the space on the side of their vans to pass on an important public message. I have proposed:

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The impact of the recent court judgement

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Paul Davies has emailed us with his latest thoughts on the way that the recent court judgement will affect his lifestyle and cruising patterns.

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Satisfying the board – an analysis of the judgement

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

From Canalworld.net
The original post

Minos describes his post “…this is only an attempt at an objective analysis by an interested amateur”.

It is reproduced here without comment, suffice that we think it important to examine all possible implications of this judgement.

From the judgement:
“in general terms section17 of the Act required all vessels used on the waterways either to have a permanent mooring site or to be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period of the licence. This was achieved by making the issue of licences conditional on the Board being satisfied either that the vessel would have a permanent mooring site or that it would be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period of the licence.”

From the text of the Act, subsection (3) (c) (ii)
“the applicant for the relevant consent satisfies the Board that the vessel to which the application relates will be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period for which the consent is valid without remaining continuously in any one place for more than 14 days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances.”

I’d not looked closely at this before, but in legal terms it is explicit: the British Waterways Board are empowered by the Act to judge for themselves what constitutes ‘bona fide’ navigation and what doesn’t. Not only that, but by using the legal term ‘bona fide’ in the Act, the intention of the person is more important than their actions. This is explained in para. 13 of the judgement. In effect, it means that BW are entitled to refuse a licence because they don’t like the look of your application – and it is up to you to prove that they are being unreasonable.

On the detail:
From Bouvier, with referencing removed:

The law requires all persons in their transactions to act with good faith and a contract where the parties have not acted bona fide is void at the pleasure of the innocent party. If a contract be made with good faith, subsequent fraudulent acts will not vitiate it; although such acts may raise a presumption of antecedent fraud, and thus become a means of proving the want of good faith in making the contract. In the civil law these actions are called (actiones) bonae fidei, in which the judge has a. more unrestrained power (liberior potestas) of estimating how much one person ought to give to or do, for another; whereas, those actions are said to be stricti juris, in which the power of the judge is confined to the agreement of the parties.

(And before anyone complains that Bouvier is an American source, the US and the UK share a lot of common law, and this is one principle shared by both.)
This definition of ‘bona fide’ is the basis of the defence claim that ‘The defendant’s deliberate compliance with the law could not deprive his actions of good faith.’ It is also the justification for BW’s actions.

Anyway, back to the point. What this means is that the BW authority is legally entitled to judge for themselves whether they think that an applicant is acting “in good faith.” Given his misconduct described in para. 6 of the judgement, he clearly gave them every reason to believe he wasn’t – not least because of his navigational, professional and social ties to such a small geographical area. They also concluded that he did not act ‘in good faith’ in para. 10 of the judgement.

BW chose to concentrate on the definition of the word ‘navigation’ – and they are empowered Parliament to use that emphasis if they so choose.

The bit that I am really interested in is this part of para. 15 of the judgement:
“It is possible to envisage use of a vessel which fell short of the Board’s concept of continuous cruising but which still qualified the vessel for a licence under section 17(3)(c)(ii).” In effect, the Judge acknowledges that genuine continuous-cruisers may very easily fail to adhere to the letter of BW’s guidelines but still adhere to its spirit in good faith – bona fide.

Put it all together and it seems to me that the implication is that while the movement of your boat on the water matters, what you do on land seems to matter more.

The Judgement in ‘That Case’

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Well….can anyone else hear the delicate sound of the brown sticky stuff hitting the whirry whirry thing. Suddenly our game appears to have changed.

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