The Floater September 2017

Waterway Partnerships – success or failure?

September 2017 - C&RT’s Waterways Partnerships are now in the sixth year of operation. The ten regional based Partnerships have between them around 100 members. However, over 50 members including all but one chair are due to step down in the next few months on expiry of office. Allan Richards investigates whether they are serving any useful purpose.

Boaters get political

September 2017 - In the past boating groups have been pretty good at direct action politics but in recent years political action has been restricted to the formal dances beloved of professional lobbying firms with C&RT and the IWA wining and dining MPs and senior civil servants. Now one group is returning to the direct action approach as Peter Underwood reports.

Environment Agency 'extremely short-sighted' over Ely mooring sales

September 2017 - Once again the Inland Waterways Association is berating the Environment Agency in the East of England, this time over the sale of assets as Peter Underwood reports.

The organisation wrote to Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of EA, to ask him to withdraw the sale of three lengths of moorings in Ely ahead of the advertised closing date for sealed bids of 8th September. A plea that seems to have been ignored.

Too many GPs deter CCers from signing up at surgeries

September 2017 - A new survey shows some GP practises seem to be ignoring official NHS guidelines and refusing to accept liveaboard CCers and their families. The figures also suggest the refusals are deterring other boaters from even trying, as Alec Wood discovered,

The findings of a survey by the London branch of the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) show that nearly four in ten (36 per cent) have had problems registering with a GP because they have no permanent address and more than 30 per cent haven't even tried to register.

Ricky's Tug of War WILL continue

September 2017 - Rickmansworth's annual festival is a high spot every year for hundreds of boaters rumours have been rife that its famous boat Tug of War would not be happening in 2018 but Peter Underwood – himself a big fan of the event – has some reassuring news.

It was the announcement of the retirement of Adrian Bull and Chris Bennett as boat-roof commentators at the tug-of war event that triggered all sorts of suggestions that the tradition of pitting one historic boat against another at the Rickmansworth Festival would come to an end.

C&RT won't say why school cruising patterns are months late

September 2017 - Peter Underwood has been asking Canal & River Trust why it is taking so long to publishing illustrative cruising patterns for boat families with children at school – but there is no coherent answer.

Will C&RT now abandon flawed licence consultation?

September 2017 - Has C&RT mislead us regarding the number of boaters who attended stage 2 licence consultation workshops? Allan Richards investigates and finds discrepancies in the figures given the Trust and Involve, the charity who ran the workshops. He also takes a look at the delayed Involve report and asks why there are no stage 3 proposals yet.

Co-operation as lock restoration begins

September 2017 - Colin Ogden's army – the Owd Lanky Boaters – has been storming through the undergrowth at Tewitfield Locks, near Carnforth, where they are working with Canal & River Trust to restore the locks, and Peter Underwood reports that the project is developing an unexpected atmosphere of co-operation and community spirit.

Empire building Ombudsman's Committee rejected most complaints

September 2017 - The Waterways Ombudsman, currently financed by Canal & River Trust, with two out of five committee members appointed by them, is now aiming to extend itself to other waterways despite boaters' doubts about independence, as Peter Underwood reports.

C&RT tries to maintain the idea that this committee is independent and the rules of the Committee require there to be a majority of independent members and for the Chair (who must be an independent member) to have a casting vote in the event of a deadlock.

Does Welches Dam attack hide IWA's own failure?

September 2017 - Is IWA's blistering attack on the Environment Agency hiding its own inaction over many years? Welches Dam Lock was stanked off 2006 preventing its use. However, the IWA, as a campaigning organisation appears to have done little over the years to address this issue. Allan Richards digs up some little known facts.

It took some five years for IWA to get its ducks in a row and actually respond to the Welches Dam Lock closure. On 17 October 2011 it posted on its website under a title of 'EA Waterways Under Threat - Welches Dam Lock' the following -

C&RT spent less on maintenance last year

September 2017 - With boaters questioning on social media why C&RT spent £900,000 less on dredging last year and the upcoming Annual Meeting, Allan Richards takes a look at what the last four Annual Reports tell us about the Trust's spend on maintenance.

Despite a substantial growth in income and and the value of its investments, the Trust's yearly spending on waterways maintenance is not increasing. Indeed, it actually spent £1m less less on directly maintaining its waterways in 2015/16 than in the previous year.

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