Apathy rules in boat licence consultation

November 2017 - With the deadline less than a month away it seems boaters have lost either interest or faith in Canal & River Trust's unnecessary consultation on boat licences, as Peter Underwood reports.

C&RT, perhaps concerned that it's consultation will lack legitimacy as just 17 per cent of boat owners have responded, has just issued a plea all boaters and boating groups to take part in the final stage of its consultation on the future of boat licensing.

With less than a month to go just over 6,000 of the 35,000+ boaters have responded - with the deadline set for December 18 and likely to move even further down personal priority lists as Christmas approaches.

Jon Horsfall, acting head of boating and one of the few senior C&RT staff now left in post and responsible to boating customers, puts a brace face on it: “There’s been a great response to the consultation, with thousands of boaters letting us know their thoughts, feelings and suggestions.

“It’s important to let us know what you think. This is about the future of boat licensing – not least how to make sure that the important financial contribution made by boaters is spread fairly across the boating community both now and in the future – and you may be affected by any changes that may be made. We want to work together with the boating community to shape a licensing system that it simple, fair and will stand the test of time.”

All of which ignores the realities that C&RT has chosen to ignore the first two stages of the consultation, which made it clear there was no need or appetite for change and chosen to forget that the cyber security of the consultation itself has been compromised.

The Trust now says a final 'proposal', including details of when any changes will come into effect, will be published once the responses to this stage of the consultation have been reviewed.

If you trust the process and feel your views might influence C&RT, more information about the consultation, including reports from stage one and stage two, can be found here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/national-consultations.

Photo: Fewer than two in ten boaters have wanted to have their say in C&RT's licence consultation.

Damian Kemp, CRT Boating Communications Manager talks about the consultation
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