My names Skinner… …Martin Skinner, and I don’t like you.

Hi all,
Here is an email conversation that I had with Martin Skinner following a phone call from him saying that we should move a bit further (to Hilperton rather than just between Bath and Bradford).

In a recent enforcement surge no boat escaped the attentions of Martin My names Skinner

In a recent enforcement surge no boat escaped the attentions of Martin "My name's" Skinner

Thought it might be of interest – particularly the part in which he writes “I do not believe it is for me to dictate to you, where you should cruise to comply with the terms of your licence.”
If we get another notice about the CC guidelines (and I’m sure we will, even though we continue to move at least every 14 days) I intend to send the notice back to BW, enclosing a letter quoting the law and the quote above, stating that if Martin Skinner doesn’t believe that it is for him to dictate to us where we should cruise in order to comply, then why the hell are they giving us the notices?!
All the best,
Tom .

29th September 2009
Major Tom to enquiries.hq

Dear Martin,
Thank you for your phonecall last week. Sorry for not having got back to you, but I have been very busy with work and our baby daughter. I recall you recommended that we move a little further in order to satisfy British Waterways that we are complying with the Continuous Cruising Guidelines. You specified that if we moved in the area from Bath to Hilperton that then we would be complying. Please could you confirm this in writing by replying to this email or writing to me.
Thanks for your time and I wish you all the best.

30th September 2009
Martin Skinner to me

Dear Tom
Thanks for the E Mail.
I can send you a copy of the guide lines for continuous cruising if you wish but I suspect you have already had sight of these.
I do not believe it is for me to dictate to you, where you should cruise to comply with the terms of your licence. To state one place is a very short term and simplistic view and would not fulfil the requirements anyway. The ethos as you are aware is to continually cruise on a progressive journey over a significant part of the waterway.
As I have stated I do not believe your current movement pattern satisfies the terms and conditions of the licence. But you are far from one of the worst offenders. For your info the movements I have recorded for you are within a parameter of 15 Km. this should be measured against what is a significant part of the waterway (2200 miles). The reason for my hopefully received, ‘friendly message’ was just so that you are aware of our position and you don’t fall foul of our enforcement procedure. In considering moving further a field also be aware of the need to make a progressive journey i.e. in one direction.
I hopes this helps, if I can be of further assistance please don’t hesitate to give me a ring
Best wishes

30th September
Tom to Martin Skinner

Dear Martin,
Thank you for your reply. I have seen and read the guidelines for continuous cruising, but of course these are but guidelines, so we choose to abide by the law (BW Act 1995 Section 17) which states that we may stay in one place for up to 14 days but does not state how far. You very rightly said that it is not the business of British Waterways to dictate how far we should move, so I look forward to keeping a pleasant, amicable, customer-service-based relationship with British Waterways. We move a reasonable distance and don’t overstay on moorings, so I don’t expect to be given any more notices. We pay a lot of money for our licence and I don’t like seeing it wasted on notices and letters trying to ‘enforce’ guidelines which don’t have the force of law, when the time and money could be spent on doing much more important and relevant jobs like dredging the canal, maintaining the banks so that we can moor in more places, and increasing the number of facilities in the area.
Again, I appreciate the time that you have taken to reply, but I trust that I won’t see more of my licence fee wasted on enforcing the unenforcable.
All the best,
Tom .

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5 Responses to “My names Skinner… …Martin Skinner, and I don’t like you.”

  1. Paul Biddy MonsterID Icon Paul Biddy says:

    The cc guidelines are an unfair contract that are ultra vires and breach echr

  2. Paul Biddy MonsterID Icon Paul Biddy says:

    If all boaters have to cruise the network, then families with children registered at schools such as bathampton, bath or bradford would be unable to educate their children. The CC Guidelines therefore breach article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life), article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and article 2 of the 1st protocol (right to education). Sounds like a judicial review to me…

    • admin MonsterID Icon admin says:

      You can’t have a judicial review of guidelines.

      Stick within the terms of the 1995 Act and then any action by BW over and above this is illegal and cannot be enforced.

  3. Tim MonsterID Icon Tim says:

    Ah the slippery words of a civil servant I fear. What a shame that you did not manage to record the voice call.

    Well done on asking again for a clarification to those rediculus letters


  4. poshratz MonsterID Icon poshratz says:

    Well done Tom. Beautiful communication setting out the legitimate case for the cruising boater.