What a bloody cheek!

Published: Thursday, 22 March 2018

I UNDERSTAND that CaRT have launched an emergency fundraising campaign to pay for the repairs to the breach at Middlewich. I say what a bloody cheek! Writes John Coxon.

Canal & River Trust waste money left right and centre, they have no idea how to generate funds and they have very poor customer relations especially with their main paying customers—boaters.

Licence fee to rise again

Boaters already pay a large amount every year for their licence. They have just been told that it is to rise again this year and that the early payment discount is to be stopped. As far as I know the only other users who are charged a compulsory fee to use CaRT's waterways are fishermen, but they only pay a token amount.

CaRT's last emergency appeal generated just 1% of he total cost of the breach repair. That was the breach at Dutton on the Trent & Mersey Canal. So lessons not learned there then!

If CaRT want to generate some funds then here are a few suggestions for them:

♦ Ditch the expensive waterways partnerships. So far this must have cost them hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds and generated just a few hundred pounds.

♦ Stop wasting money by building silly canoe moorings and ramps and painting lines on towpaths for duck lanes.Let's have a bit of common sense here.

♦ Stop wasting money on stupid sculptures and carving poetry into lock gate beams.

♦ Stop wasting money on stupid signs telling people where they are!

♦ Get rid of all the excess managers and their teams. CaRT appears to be turning into a jobs-for-the boys club.

Money wasting advisory groups

CaRT also has a plethora of advisory groups. Just to give an instance of how big and potentially expensive they are, this is a list of the members in CaRTs 'Arts Advisory Group':

Jonathan Watkins, director of Ikon Gallery, Chairman
Tony Hales CBE
Ian Banks, director Atoll Ltd, member of NW Waterways Partnership
Tamsin Dillon, director of Art on the Underground (London)
Claire Doherty, director of Situations
Mark Dunhill, dean of CSM School of Art, Central Saint Martins
Deirdre Figueiredo, MBE, director of Craftspace, Birmingham
Manick Govinda, arts admin, head of artists’ advisory services
Marianne McNamara, artistic director, Mikron Theatre
Judith Palmer, director, Poetry Society
Megan Piper, director, Piper Gallery and The Line
Sarah Weir OBE, chief executive, Waddesdon Manor, National Trust.


CaRT even has a FREIGHT advisory group. What freight is carried on the canals nowadays that it needs an advisory group? In total there are nearly 90 advisory group members. How much are they costing CaRT one wonders?


Leave environment matters to the EA, it is, after all, its job. CaRT has shown it is totally incompetent at it anyway, like dredging an unnavigable section to improve the environment for various mayflies only to actually dredge up and kill the nymphs which are the said mayfies young!


More money wasted on planting reedbeds on navigable waterways that just break free and block the waterway instead. So much for the Environmental Advisory groups expertise.

Unavigable waterways

It also beggars belief that CaRT spent a large amount of money replacing the gates on a lock on an unnavigable section of waterway. Need I say more?

Cycle tracks

Which brings us to CaRT's most ridiculous waste of money, upgrading towpaths to dangerous cycle tracks. This must have cost them millions of pounds by now even though they say that they have also had grants for it. This is one that is going to bite them very soon when someone gets killed by a cyclist and CaRT are found liable in court. It's not a case of IF but a case of WHEN!

Generate funds

Perhaps they might make a start at generating some funds and start charging canoeists etc a licence fee. Also if they started charging all the continuous moorers in places like London, Bristol, Oxford etc, a mooring fee that represents the cost of housing in those places then they would generate large amounts of income.

If they charged continuous moorers in London £40 per night then that would reflect the cost of a cheap B&B in central London and generate CaRT £14,600 per boat per year. Still a cheap residence in London. If there are 300 boats then this would generate £4,38 million in one year. More than enough to pay for the breach repair in Middlewich don't you think? It would also bring in enough funds to reduce the tens of thousands of faults in the repair backlog.

Inept organisation

As a licence payer I for one will not be dipping into my pocket to give CaRT another penny until I see a tangiable effort to reduce the excessive waste that this inept organisation is responsible for.

I pay around £1,000 for my licence now. What other user group members pay to this extent?

As far as I can see the only thing that CaRT have been successful in doing over the six years of it's existence is going broke.

[John Coxon is a continuous cruiser]