Monday, 28 August 2017

Quiet before the storm 2017

Still here but not had a lot to say. Given the failure to communicate, anyone would think I was undertaking a licence consultation!

Like many I await the next stage of CRT's boat licence consultation exercise with a mixture of suspicion and resignation. It seems not even CRT's Navigation Advisory Committee are sure what is coming! (See answer to q3 in this FOI request). As indicated in the last post no-one seems quite sure what is wrong or why CRT are doing this exercise. NBTA has written an excoriating critique of the process so far which makes for good sport! And no-one really believes that CRT are going to spend all that time and effort for a "revenue neutral" review when they are struggling for funds.

True to form CRT have also imposed a major change to licence structure, while the consultation is going on; They have introduced a new licence for private renting boats with a particularly tight restriction on having a residential mooring, all apparently with no consultation. Again true to form they have had a reasonable idea and then executed it with all the subtlety of a Donald Trump tweet!

Many boaters see the ad-hoc rental of boats as risky and potentially exploitative and dangerous. There has been a longstanding case that this is de facto commercial activity and the boats and owners concerned should be licenced insured and safety tested accordingly. The complaint is that of course BW/CRT have ignored the situation for years and years. Most people believe that it was a well publicised case earlier in the year that has finally stirred them into action. However the lack of consultation and the solution chosen is in my view going to have two effects. First it will drive a part of this rental sector underground. Secondly it will lead to some fairly unscrupulous evictions of existing renters when things come on top.

The real irony is that if CRT had bothered to undertake some consultation on the subject they would probably have received fairly widespread support in favour of setting out a proper framework!

On a personal note as one of the relatively few on a long term residential mooring I'm pissed off. The law of unexpected consequences means that my mooring will now be subject to even more attention from those who aspire to be 'boat-lords'.

It's also noticeable that over the past couple of weeks CRT have been implying that the latest London Boating consultation is to be linked to the national consultation. Their PR team have it seems also been active putting out lots of stories about overcrowding in London. Subtle! Having attempted numerous consultations about London waterways and not had answers they like, they are back on the old tactic of manipulating the consultation to try to get to where they want, (i.e. chuck lots of liveaboard continuous cruisers out of London), it seems by bringing on loads of people who have never bought a boat to London or only spent a few weeks here.

Enjoy the quiet before the storm that is undoubtedly coming soon!

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