Victor: What a load of absolute rubbish

Published: Sunday, 29 December 2019

WE ALL must be aware of the urge—often misguided—to control the pollution 'they' tell us is causing climate change.

And now the Environmental Agency, Broads Authority and Canal & River Trust have joined the fray, and misguided does not even cover it.

The trio tell usand of course I quotethat they estimate that over 120,000 litres of fuel/oil accidentally enters our canals and rivers annually from boats.

Then it enters the realms of fantasy by telling that there are 60,000 boats that each discharges two litres of fuel/oil per year into the waterways!

What absolute crap!

Let's take our marina as an instance that has around 300 small cruisers driven by outboards.  No fuel or oil in bilges to be pumped out as there aren't any.  And the Broads Authority and Thames are 'awash' with small cruisers with outboards.  Where are their two litres of fuel/oil from those per year in the waterways?

As to the larger cruisers and narrowboats, I should imagine most are like ours having two separate bilge sections—one underneath the engine and one taking any rain water that gets into the bilge, with the bilge pump firmly encased in the latter.  Very few engines leak oil and ours certainly doesn't, but its bilge gets a clean-out at Boat Safety Scheme inspection time to make it look pretty!  So where are our two litres?

Our marina, like many others, has a council licence for resident boaters—in boats that never move.  So where does their two litres come from?

And we all know of the 'country cottage' boats that rarely move and those that make just a hop to the local pub.

It is obvious to any sensible boater that these people who conjure up these 'statistics' have absolutely no idea what they are commenting on, turning out such preposterous misinformation.  Yet needless to say it will be pounced on by those wishing to perpetuate their 'pollution' campaigns as absolute fact—that it certainly is not.

The only 'oil'

The only 'oil' from narrowboats that goes into the waterways is not really oil at all, and it gives some idea of the grasp of these people of the subject, for it is the grease from the wind-down pumps supplying the stern gear that can leak into the water.

sternGearEven that has been stopped in many cases as the better boat builders have done away with such an archaic method of lubrication and are using Volvo stern glands that need no grease or oil.

Ours, installed by Simon Piper Boats, (pictured) has had no attention whatsoever for 17 years—with not a drop of grease in the waterways.

120,000 litres?—Nothing more than misinformation conjured up to exploit the climate change bias.

It's real—but...

Boater Neil Quarmby tells us that he actually received an invitation to complete a [Canal & River Trust] survey in May having been spotted cruising on the Lee & Stort, so the survey is definitely real.

But handing these out willy-nilly and at the choice of the distributors hardly lives up to the survey methodology that should be used, as comprehensively outlined by Bill Ridgeway. 

It's completely meaningless, and any 'results' should be taken with a very large pinch of you know what.

above hyde lockOh yes, it is now a week since I doubted the existence of the report, yet only one boater has confirmed receiving the form to complete.  So make of that what you will.

We are not told

So CaRT tells us that its 'winter tree and hedge management programme has started.

Though it goes into some detail such as maintaining the line of sight for boaters and its 'large scale activities costing as much as £750,000', there was something missing.

It forgot to mention which waterway/s would benefit from all this activity.


As it is now usually booking time for hire boat holidays, I will give such readers a reminder that if you are thinking of a May Bank Holiday weekend then don't book to include Monday 4th if that is what is given on your calendar or diary.

The government moved it to Friday 8th to coincide with the VE 75th anniversary, making it the weekend later.

The problem being that the bulk of diaries and calendars were printed before the announcement of the change, and though most hire companies had cottoned on, I notice one rather well known hire company had definitely not.

It advertising a 'Spring Bank Holiday break' that included Monday the 4th!

Victor Swift