Nothing to see here …..?

January 2018 - Here at The Floater we like to keep boaters in touch with the output of Canal & River Trust's spin doctors. However, despite all the big issues out there, like licence and mooring consultations and major changes in C&RT's structure it is difficult to find anything about them from C&RT, as Peter Underwood observes.

As Richard Parry and the Trustees attempt to rejig the Trust's structure, change boat licensing, tackle London's mooring issues and take over the Environment Agency navigations C&RT's highly paid spin doctors prefer to promote the well being of wildlife, get volunteers gardening or lock keeping, discuss planning policies in Wales and promote fishing. Oh, and poetry.

The lack of relevance of this propaganda to boaters or canal restorers is breathtaking, given the major issues and changes under way and in the first 18 days of January none of the output from C&RT's Public Relations team has made any attempt to keep us up to date.

Instead C&RT tells us it is working with Salford University to test the quality of wildlife habitats and biodiversity on five miles of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. It says: “We want to assess the quality and quantity of the fish stocks so we can take measures to improve the wider health of aquatic plants and animals in the canal at this protected site.”

Then volunteers feature heavily with stories about locals in the East Midlands being invited to put forward ideas for 'small projects that will make a big difference on their local waterways'.

C&RT also wants Yorkshire people to become volunteer lock keepers and at Alperton on the Grand Union, residents are 'being encouraged to roll up their sleeves and help improve their local canal'.

Meanwhile C&RT wants more volunteers 'to help our education team bring our Tees Barrage to life'.

There is a press release about a replacement for postponed public consultation events into future development around the canal World Heritage Site at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, in North Wales.

Then there are the fishermen. Apparently a new angling club has rented some waters on the Montgomery Canal in Powys; the Stillwater Championships, have a brand-new name and format and members of the public and community groups are being given the opportunity to run a 10 acre fishery on the Chesterfield Canal.

Finally the Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust have announced the appointment of Britain’s new Canal Laureate, Nancy Campbell. She is an Oxford-based poet and kayaker with a keen interest in arctic, marine and water conservation, who has spent the last seven years as a poet in residence in Greenland and Iceland.

C&RT says: “During 2018 she will 'seek out and share stories' from the people and places she will encounter during her travels along the 2,000 miles of the nation’s historic canals and waterways looked after by the Canal & River Trust.”

So there you have it. It is as if nothing was changing in C&RT's world, as if boaters and their concerns were irrelevant, and as if C&RT was simply contemplating its own navel.

Nothing to see here....?

Photos: (1st) Fishermen are fishing, (2nd) Poetry is happening, (3rd) Volunteers are weeding, (4th) Volunteer lockies are needed, (5th) Planning consultations are under way, (6th) But nothing is being said about Richard Parry's bid to reshape C&RT and boating.

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