Thursday, 30 October 2014

CRT knows best!

As I have just said on Facebook; I'm smiling wryly at Alan's latest article on NBW;…/ne…/7431-cart-ignoring-petition

...and of course please sign the petition if you haven't already and think that the option of scrapping the policy of selling public assets to the higest bidder should be on the table.

Don't forget that the consultation ends this weekend. Please also send your thoughts direct to CRT; 'all comments and views to'.

Sorry to go on, but further proof if needed that CRT Trustees don't really care what boaters think. Same old 'we know best attitude' we experienced with BW. Plus ca change...

The same seems to be happening with the so called London Better Relationships Group. Lots of stuff flying around about having an agenda but a seemingly steadfast refusals, (it has to be said not just from CRT but from other members of the group), to go back to the consultation responses that started all that:

My missive to the BRG earlier this week, by way of illustration. Are you sitting comfortably?

Greetings to all,

My observation on all this is that BRG has completely lost its way. I do not have the benefit of attending the last meeting but...
I seem to recall that this all arose out of a consultation where CRT were proposing drastic and many would say indiscriminate and unlawful sanctions against a 'problem', based on precious little hard evidence. It should be noted that the 'target' was explicitly boaters without home moorings.

See 2011 BW proposals for the management of moorings on the Rivers Lee & Stort, Hertford Union and Regent's Canals at

(In particular see

It was the overwhelmingly hostile response from Boaters and others to the consultation that forced CRT to back up. A stated aim at the start of BRG was for CRT to better undertstand Boaters' position and it was heavily implied that this was supposed to be a learning experience for CRT as much as anything else. I have long held that this was a fudge because the consultation responses already showed many of the answers to that.

For me there are really only two issues that BRG has anything close to a mandate to deal with and these are two themes that for me were central in the consultation responses.

1. Advising CRT on what would amount to a fair and transparent enforcement processes.

The overwhelming message in the consulatation responses was that tarring all with the same brush was wholly unfair. Responses then went on to highlight the inequity of imposing regimes such as overstaying fines/charges, distances moved and places.

As XXXX has said much of that has been debated nationally for decades and without any successful conclusion. If BRG thinks it can solve all that, then in my view that is deluded. This is an area we should leave well alone.

Take the farcical 'places' exercise at the last but one meeting; this illustrates the futilty of time spent on that locally: The work that some allowed themselves to be forced into at that meeting, on place maps, has since been suspended nationally so that was a waste of time?

The point has been made many times that if you can't enforce existing rules effectively what hope is there for new ones?

On Facebook there are increasingly numerous reports/testimonials appearing to show that CRT are threatening boaters with legal action based on grossly inaccurate movement records. This also includes examples in London. There is also the the abortive Dunkley court case, reports of which also suggest that CRT's logging system for boat movements is seriously flawed. All this rather suggests that the numbers and stats being given out from CRT on enforcement are at best suspect.

Until all the existing CRT enforcement processes become more credible and transparent (and as seems necessary, some CRT processes corrected), it seems to me to be difficult for members of the group to participate in good faith about enforcement activity.
a) we could sit down and have CRT explain frankly and openly their current enforcement procedures, warts and all,
b) Boaters give feedback on what seems reasonable and what does not,
c) CRT then come back with proposals for improvements, as opposed to just trying to force through what they said in the first place,

... that would seem constructive and in the spirit of what was supposed to happen from the outset.

2. Improving facilities for boaters
There was overwhelming support in the consulation responses for increasing the availability of facilities. Simon Salem's few words on R4 are right. CRT cannot in general refuse people boats licences, nor stop those who wish to head to London for whatever purpose; so it seems to me that trying to exclude people is all but futile; rather it is a matter of how best to accomodate boats who are here and those who may come in the future, knowing full well that we might not have the space to accomodate everyone who might wish it to exactly the degree they individually demand...
In the roughly three years since the consultation what has happenned to improve physical facilities? Seems to me like a few dozen more mooring rings in places people already moored is about it, so not much to show?

The supposed offer of involvement from the Waterways Partnership to help look at this number one question for boaters i.e. where we can put more facilities and improve on existing ones seems to have completely evaporated.

Following on from above, when I tried to start a discussion earlier this year about the I think obvious need for us to think about how we go about finding third party funding for improvements and to accept that we can't rely on the little money CRT has to provide the sorts of and extent of improvements that Boaters aspire to see, I was cut down from continuing that by CRT (Sally) who seemed unwilling to admit that CRT does not have money to do many of the things we would like to do. I will not trouble those who were not party to it at the time with exactly what Sally said at this stage cos that does not help now.

However if BRG does not re-engage with the difficult task of increasing facilities, it is for me ignoring what many of respondents to the original consultation asked for.

Not sure where these thoughts take matters but felt I needed to say what is on my mind.

Regards to all

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