National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) which is the most broadly representative of all the boating pressure groups has been involved in this and has become disillusioned by C&RT's approach. The 'consultation' seems to be a sham. C&RT appear to have decided how licensing is going to change and are going through the motions and massaging the results to support this decision.
NABO issued the following message to all members and I urge ALL boaters, whether members of NABO or not, to make their views know to C&RT as soon as possible.
Your Council met recently and felt that we should urgently communicate our
views and recommendations with regard to CRT's latest consultation. Canal and River Trust have spent considerable time and expense getting to
this stage yet in our view have now effectively ignored the majority view. CRT have in this consultation posed questions intimating that these have
the support of the two earlier stages and of the Navigation Advisory Group
(NAG L&M) where boaters views were requested. This is not the case. At the specially convened meeting of NAG and the boaters representatives
Mark Tizard and Alison Tuck from NABO attended) we were advised that after getting the views of the boating organisations (stage 1) and the boaters
workshops (stage 2) the only common themes emerging were the approval to
change the way licensing was charged from length to area and to review
discounts generally (keeping the prompt payment discount). We understood
that this basically was likely to form the core of the questions to be asked.
There was a majority view that there should just be one license charge
regardless of whether a boater had a home mooring or not) and it was agreed
that licensing cost should not be used to address congestion but that this
was the function of enforcement.
Despite being rejected at stage 1&2 this was brought up again at the special
NAG meeting and again rejected unanimously. Despite this we note with dismay that CRT have chosen to be divisive and have
included questions that suggest that the boaters should pay a different fee
dependent upon whether they have a home mooring or not, see questions 24,25
and 26. NABO's view is that there should be one license fee for use of the
waterways under CRT's control and would urge members to vote accordingly.
In addition we note that CRT in question 24 is suggesting a new license with
increased fee (in our view potentially illegal unless there is a new act of
Parliament) for boats that wish to remain in one area. This is in our view a
function of creating a sustainable mix of towpath, short and long term
moorings supported by enforcement. Members can read a pdf of the consultation here. We would URGE all members to respond to the consultation,
if you have not received a copy contact customer services who will email
or post one out to you. NABO is planning to launch a wider campaign shortly whose aims are to ensure
that CRT and EA put boating and boaters at the forefront of their thinking and actions when promoting the waterways.
This will have the tag of ' As a boater are you feeling marginalised ?' NABO Council
With highlighting and italicizing by Peter Lloyd