Victor: It bites—at last!

Published: Sunday, 11 March 2018

I WAS beginning to believe that the Inland Waterways Association was now well in the pocket of Cart, but the associations's response to its recent licensing consultation restores my faith.

The IWA claims 'the consultation is a missed opportunity to solve some of the issues caused by the current licensing system, and in particular the effect of the continuous cruising option introduced by the British Waterways Act 1995 as an alternative to having a home mooring'.

The IWA expected better things after such a significant amount of resource spent on the consultation, and states it is disappointing that so little has come of it.

The IWA expected that something would be done about the increasing use of widebeam boats on inappropriate waterways to the detriment of other users and particularly the Trust not settling the matter that boaters without a home mooring cruise an appropriate distance.

However the IWA will continue campaigning for these concerns to be resolved.

A missed opportunity

It is difficult to believe that Cart did not take the opportunity, once and for all, to lay down just how far a boat without a home mooring must travel over a set period to fulfil its licence commitments.

This is the greatest problem of all with licensing, as no one knows just how far or how often a boat with a continuous cruiser licence must travel to fulfil its obligations under the rules—for there aren't any!

What a missed opportunity, but shows once again that all Cart is concerned with is that it it seen to be consulting and making decisions, when it certainly is not as the most important decision concerning boat licencing is completely ignored.

It was simple enough. Say 20 miles a month.  What could be easier? But the new Cart is obviously afraid of doing anything that is the least controversial, it is spineless.

Cyclists to be subject to motorists laws

With pedestrians on roads and paths being injured by speeding cyclists, the government is considering subjecting them to the same laws as motorists.

This is being brought about as the number of people suffering injury and even death from speeding cyclists is rising dramatically especially after the introduction of Strava, that encourages them to better their speeds over set distances.

A study commissioned by the government has stated that cyclists should be subject to the same laws as motorists, and the same penalties, including of course prison sentences.

Ministers are considering changing the law to create an equivalent cycling offence to causing death or serious injury by dangerous or careless driving.

That would perhaps make those Strava cyclist think twice about racing on our very limited width towpaths knowing that they can no longer get away with causing injuries, but will face stiff penalties and even prison.

Seven to trimA massive job

A massive job indeed trimming the branches by the side of the towpath. It must be for it now needs a crew of seven!

Yes, my friends, here is Keith Gudgin's photograph of the seven involved in stripping a few small branches at Handsacre on the Trent & Mersey Canal. With one just seen inside the boat.

Not the offside overhanging branches, but those small ones growing out of the towpath hedge.

Understanding stoppage notices

Over the last few months there have been some very strange stoppage notices indeed isued by Cart, by someone who obviously does not know the waterways.

The latest that is extremely difficult to understand relates to the Grand Union Canal, for which those boaters subscribing to the notices learnt that one particular notice states 'Starts At: Access Point. Ends At: Access Point.

Work that one out!

A bit late

So the National Waterways Museum at Gloucester is currently closed pending completion of the ‘new entrance’, for which back in 2015 Cart received a £994,100 Hertitage Lottery Fund grant to complete this and other works.

The grant was of course conditional, and after a bit of digging, Graham Freeman unearthed a copy of the grant and noted that award of the grant was conditional upon all aspects of the work being completed by 31st December 2017.

Which leaves us both to ask just how many more stipulations imposed upon Cart have been cast aside...

Victor Swift