The Floater August 2018

When is a building site not a building site..?

August 2018 - It is fair to say that Burnley Canal Festival over the bank holiday weekend was not all it might have been – not because of lack of effort by the organisers but because it was lacking one vital ingredient – boats. As Alec Wood reports, just two boats managed to attend and low water levels meant they had to moor away from the festival site.

Cut-off canal celebrates 200 years

August 2018 - Everyone is preparing to celebrate what is being described as the 200th anniversary of the Lancaster Canal next year and now there is a coffee table book out to mark the event – even though the book itself makes clear that the canal was opened in instalments and 2019 marks the bicentenary of the opening of what is now the Northern Reaches. Peter Underwood has been reading it.

Directors' pay just keeps rising

August 2018 - When Canal & River Trust decided to tear down the structure established by Richard Parry and the trustees, just five years after those changes were made, we were told that 78 senior posts would be scrapped and replaced by 60 posts and that just 27 of the new jobs would be senior, earning more than £60,000 a year. Allan Richards has been looking at the impact on the Trust’s £65m a year salary bill.

C&RT responds after licence data breach

August 2018 - Canal & River Trust has suffered a substantial data leak, with boaters renewing their licences being sent details of up to 67 other boaters along with their own.

The leak seems to have affected several boaters with many taking to social media to explain and demand that the breach is dealt with under the new data protection legislation.

C&RT admits water problem on Lanky – and its not weed

August 2018 - The Lancaster Canal’s summer water supply has been an issue for boaters for many years, with the Ribble Link closed a few years ago because of low levels and the Glasson flight of locks currently shut in order to preserve water. However, simple drought isn’t the problem, as Peter Underwood reports.

At least one angry boater, moored in a Lancaster Canal Marina until recently, has given up in disgust and put his boat up for sale after repeated problems with low water levels and what he sees as a complete failure by C&RT boss Richard Parry to answer his complaints.


August 2018 - The Canal & River Trust has urged Government to consider the needs of boaters and put financial support into the development of new, cleaner technology for the waterway sector in its response to the Government’s draft Clean Air Strategy.

The charity says it is supportive of the Government’s proposed measures to improve air quality and believes the waterways have a role to play in combatting pollution and providing clean air spaces, as well as helping reduce transport pollution by moving journeys off road.


August 2018 - Asked to explain discrepancies within its own figures on canal closures, Canal and River Trust’s head of legal services claimed answering the questions, from The Floater’s Allan Richards, would cause: “harassment of, or distress to, the public authorities staff'. He added 'We do reserve the right to bring this behaviour to the attention of the relevant authorities for the purposes of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997”


August 2018 - The first boater organisation – and so far the only one – to challenge the Environment Agency’s plans to hike boat registration fees by between 10 per cent and 5.7 per cent per year for three years is the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA), as Alec Wood reports

The Environment Agency (EA) is consulting on proposals for increases massively above inflation in 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 and NBTA’s chair, Pamela Smith is urging members to respond by post, email or online before it closes at the end of August.


August 2018 - The sheer scale of the closures and restrictions, both drought-related and the physical failures of the network’s structures has been brought home in Canal & River Trust’s usually chirpy and lightweight Boater’s update, as Peter Underwood observes.

Boater’s Update is usually unrelenting in its cheerfulness but – as it records - June was the third driest month since records began in 1910 – and the hot dry weather has continued.


August 2018 - The impact of the drought is steadily moving south to impact on increasingly large areas of the system, with London the latest as the rivers feeding the Grand Union and Paddington Arm drying up.

C&RT has told boaters: “Following the long period of dry hot weather there are continued low flows of water from the river tributaries that feed the Grand Union Canal, including the Paddington Arm.


August 2018 - After earning negative national publicity for its bid to raise the price of London moorings in a series of price hikes more than four times the rate of inflation, as well as now facing a threat of a serious legal challenge, it seems Canal & River Trust is having a rethink. Whether it is simply a pause to allow the heat of protest to die down or a serious bid to engage mooring customers remains to be seen as Peter Underwood reports.


August 2018 - Canal & River Trust is conducting a massive charm offensive to bring more of the public to the canals, with large scale spending on advertising and social media, as part of it’s bid for replacement government cash once the current grant ends, on the basis that it is enhancing the ‘wellbeing’ of the wider public.

It has to be unfortunate that two key measures of the public’s view of the Trust show that they are yet to be convinced, as Allan Richards reports after delving into C&RT’s latest Annual Report.

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