Reason for the complaints

I WILL certainly agree with David Hymers that comparing Canal & River Trust with the Environmental Agency is not comparing like for like, writes James Henry.

And I also agree that the Agency does not look after its overhanging vegetation too well and of course doesn't have the many structures as do CaRT. But the EA is responsible for many things in addition to its navigable rivers, whilst CaRT is (or should be) responsible for its navigations only and should be able to maintain them.

Greatly deteriorated

I have been boating now for over 20 years (I realise David has too as he has been writing in narrowboatworld for many years.) And we both know that during this time the waterways under CaRT have greatly deteriorated, that is the reason for all the complaints.

Lack of good maintenance is basically the culprit, and as we are informed that the spend is becoming less and less, year upon year, there is good reason to complain, especially as it reflects on our boating experience.  You told once that you had been fortunate to avoid stoppages, that tells its own story!  I have not been so lucky.

Cruised the Soar?

You mention the lack of overhanging vegetation clearance by the EA, but have you cruised the Soar recently?  You also refer to locks, but I have cruised the Thames many times and have had no problems—twice however being stopped from getting there by failed locks on the Oxford Canal.

I do believe boaters, like for like or not, have good reason to complain at the horrendous number of stoppages these days (notwithstanding the new way they are being presented) obviously due to the lack of money for maintenance, that to many minds, mine included, is being frittered away on too many other things.