The Floater June 2017

Liverpool World Heritage status under threat

June 2017 - Any boater who has used Liverpool's new canal link through the old docks and spent time in Salthouse Dock will appreciate what a special place it is - but by next year it might no longer be a World Heritage site, as Peter Underwood reports.

Trust issues safety warning to summer swimmers

June 2017 - Many boaters have come across youngsters swimming in the canals, even jumping and diving into locks as hot weather draws them to the canalside – but it is a prospect that – rightly – makes Canal River Trust nervous, as Peter Underwood reports.

It's pretty common for older boaters to complain about the 'health and safety' culture of the modern waterways, but the consequences of not protecting the public with effective health and safety rules has come home to all but the most dyed-in-the-wool in recent weeks.

Trust's answer to speeding 'lycra louts'

June 2017 - Peter Underwood reports on the Canal & River Trust's latest attempts to reduce the number of collisions and injuries involving cyclists on our towpaths – ranging from cut-out ‘sleeping policeman’ to spray on signs urging people to slow down to two new videos.

The Canal & River Trust claims its towpaths are “fast becoming one of the nation’s favourite places to relax” but speeding cyclists, especially in urban areas are turning them into a nightmare for families, pet owners and tourists.

Anderton Lift delays cause protests

June 2017 - The operators of fuel boats – some of the only true working boats left on the waterways – are usually stoical types, accustomed to the problems of an old and creaking system – but sometimes it gets to them, as Peter Underwood reports.

HalsalI, operated by Martin Catterall as Four Counties Fuels regularly uses the Anderton Lift as part of his delivery route, dropping down to service boats on the River Weaver.

Time to challenge silly visitor mooring limits?

June 2017 - Boaters notice that shortening visitor mooring times seems to be a knee-jerk response from Canal & River Trust and, to a lesser extent, British Waterways before them. As Peter Underwood explains, it is not particularly logical, but can boaters do anything to change it?

Certain parts of the system – ironically not the busiest – have a plethora of short duration visitor moorings. It seems to be C&RT's only answer when holiday boaters complain; even though it doesn't help.

Back Rivers finally reopen to boats and K&A gets dredged

June 2017 - We do like to pass on some of the output of C&RT's team of public relations people and the Trust has been blowing its trumpet about East London and the Kennet and Avon, as Peter Underwood reports.

Canal & Rriver Trust says it's 'welcoming boaters back to the Bow Back Rivers' that run through East London’s Olympic Park.

'None of the information you have requested is held' … or is it?

June 2017 - Canal & River Trust has denied that it holds any information relating to a working group it claims to have set up to look at the results of the 2016 Boat Owners’ Survey, Allan Richards reports

Despite repeating several times that it holds no information about the group it has still gone on to offer to talk about the possible impact the same (non-existent?) working group might have on C&RT policies in a move that leaves us gasping at the Orwellian doublethink on show.

You couldn't make it up – but C&RT did

June 2017 - It seems fiction is the new approach to controlling boaters on London's waterways where a policy of making up legislation seems to rule in the sign-making department as Alec Wood reports.

When signs started appearing in London citing “Bye-laws 29 and 48 of the Canal & River Trust Act” inexperienced boaters may have been duly impressed by the legislation – which, the signs allege, relates to mooring on canal-side railings.

C&RT still failing to fix the waterways

June 2017 - It seems C&RT is simply not repairing the network as fast as it is falling apart – something many boaters suspect from their personal experience – Allan Richards has been crunching the numbers.

Some months back, The Floater described how C&RT had failed to meet its most important maintenance target for the 2015/16 financial year. At the beginning of the year (April 1 2015), the Trust had some 59,133 recorded defects on its 2,000 miles of waterways (up from 50,579 the previous year).

If you want less litter – the answer is fewer bins - supposedly

June 2017 - There is a big issue with the amount of litter discarded on towpaths, as any boater knows, and that is especially true in urban areas where C&RT has litter bins installed to encourage visitors to dispose of their rubbish properly. Yet the Trust is in the process of removing four in ten towpath bins, as Alec Wood reports.

Will C&RT allow a real restorer to adopt a canal lock flight?

June 2017 - There are signs that Canal & River Trust may be coming to terms with what is swiftly becoming the foremost organisation seeking to restore the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal, Peter Underwood reports.

As his Owd Lanky Boaters Group hits 1,000 members Colin Ogden has been in talks with C&RT to take over responsibility for the Tewitfield lock flight – the first major structure on the abandoned section of the canal.

Red Diesel deadline looms

June 2017 - Government has been running a consultation on the use of red diesel, which closes on 30th June 2017 and it currently seems to treat all boaters as leisure users, ignoring the needs of liveaboards, Peter Underwood reports.

The consultation document gives a list of uses of red diesel which includes ships and private pleasure craft, but makes no mention of boat dwellers, according to National Bargee Travellers chair Pamela Smith.

Ken demands lock that sunk his boat is included in C&RT winter works

June 2017 - It cost Canal & River Trust half a million pounds to settle out of court with Ken Churchill after his boat sank in Lock 40 of the Bank Newton flight after snagging on a lock wall. He may have defeated C&RT in court, but Ken remains determined other boaters won't suffer the same fate, as Peter Underwood reports.

Has C&RT admitted that Alan Roberts is 'Planets' owner?

June 2017 - Just over two weeks ago, The Floater revealed that C&RT had sold the Mersey Bar Lightship for a fraction of its advertised price and was now the subject of a police investigation regarding theft of the vessel (Lightship 'Planet' sold for just £12,500 & Now Police investigate theft of 'Planet'). Allan Richards updates the story.

Has The Floater reached the end of its days?

June 2017 - The Floater reaches 10-15,000 people most days with news about Britain's waterways – most of which won't be found in the commercial canal media, and certainly not from C&RT spin doctors – but it may be about to go out of business, reports Alec Wood.

Canal wildlife gets £350,000 spend

June 2017 - A lottery grant of more than a third of a million pounds is being poured into a 12-month nature project to improve vulnerable wildlife habitats across 10 key sites totalling 400 hectares – a combined area greater than the City of London – by the Canal & River Trust, Alec Wood reports.

Now, where have we heard that before?

June 2017 - C&RT's press release about its 2017 Boat Owners Survey places positive spin on the results but admits there is room for improvement. Instead of publishing the report on which the article is based, it says it will be published at a later date, Allan Richards reports.

This not only prevents boaters from checking the claims made against the report immediately but potentially prevents the report being obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. Section 22 of the Act allows information to be withheld if there is an intention to publish at a future date.

Now it's one million Friends by 2025 – unless that's typo?

June 2017 - A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that C&RT has abandoned its long-term target of recruiting 100,000 Friends by 2022, Allan Richards reports.

Just a month ago, The Floater reported that one of its longest serving trustees, John Dodwell had told the Staffs & Worcs Canal Society on March 13, that it was still the Trust's aim to recruit 100,000 Friends over its first ten years of operation ( Will C&RT ever have100,000 Friends? ).

Quarter of boaters unhappy with C&RT

June 2017 - Nearly a quarter of boaters remain dissatisfied with the Canal & River Trust's waterways and more than 20 per cent would not recommend them to others – Peter Underwood explores C&RT's claims about the 2017 Boat Owners survey.

At present we only have C&RT's interpretation of the annual survey of Boat Owners’ Views and it goes for a relentlessly positive spin on what, for most charitable or commercial organisations, be a somewhat depressing result.

Mile long tunnel now open to canoeists

June 2017 - For most boaters it would be a nightmare, sharing a long canal tunnel with canoeists in small, fragile shells, easily crushed by 20 tonnes of steel you are steering – but C&RT seems to think it is an acceptable risk as Peter Underwod reports.

If you are passing through Foulridge Tunnel, at Barrowford on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, keep peering into the darkness for canoeists.

C&RT introduces new letting licence – for boats with moorings

June 2017 - In the middle of a major review of its licensing system C&RT is introducing a new licence in response to widespread criticism about the lack on control over boats rented out as homes – Peter Underwood takes a look.

The Canal & River Trust's new 'letting licence' is designed, it says, to 'ensure the safety of the increasing number of people living on rented boats'.

The organisation claims it is responding to the 'numbers of boats for rent in London and further afield as people try to find alternatives to rising housing costs'.

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