Victor: Pie in the sky

Published: Sunday, 20 December 2020

AS A somewhat early riser, when I learnt about CaRT bestowing £800 millions on its waterways I glanced through the window.

But no, it was still dark, so definitely not the 1st of April as I thought.

So what's it all about I ask, for with an annual surplus of £22 millions—there of course for an emergency—how on earth can it conjure up knocking on a billion pounds over six years?

The highly regarded Construction News quantified the spend, breaking it down into the various schemes, though four of them had exactly the same spend, which seemed a bit queer to say the least.

Perhaps it's all a great scam to show the government just how much the waterways need to get them back into good working order, for it certainly is not for real.

Cutting off the tidal Thames

It was way back in the good old days of 2004 that we took to the tidal Thames via the Regents and up through the capital and under Hammersmith Bridge for Brentford and the Grand Union.

Alas, there will be none of that for any of you boaters; as you most likely know Hammersmith Bridge is well and truly closed for everything—either under or over.  And now the Department for Transport has decreed that the local Hammersmith & Fulham Council have to cough-up 50% of the cost of its repair.

£64 millions no less!  That the council maintain will lump every resident with £800 to pay!  No way José! 

A cost of between £128 and £163 millions to repair a bridge?  Little wonder if it is to take six years.

Most likely be cheaper to build a new one.  But of course it's Grade II listed—so that's that.  And no through route up or down the tidal Thames for boaters for six years—and climbing...

How will it help with climate change?

So CaRT gets a cool £2 millions for climate change, but how the hell it is to help with climate change is anybody's guess, but tells us:

...the funding will go towards projects aimed at helping build the waterways’ resistance to climate change, support biodiversity, manage water stewardship, reduce the charity’s carbon footprint, and improve the charity’s use of materials and waste management.

That of course tells us bugger all. To my mind it boils down to even more managers and their staff being engaged.

Unless of course it plans for all electric boatswhich will clear the waterways even quicker than the virus and leave it with nothing to spend!

Will we be next?

The Environment Agency has never been too good at controlling its moorings on the Thames, so I reckon it will be pleased that it has persuaded private contractors to take over the control, District Enforcement Ltd wading in with hefty hundred quid fines for overstayers.

It is surely obvious that the EA will bring its other waters under the same system, as after all it means it no longer needs patrols and District Enforcement Ltd gets to keep what it collects as payment for its services.  A win-win situation all round.

As CaRT too has not been so hot at controlling its moorings and would save a packet getting rid of its enforcement teams as it calls them...

Keeping safe

We were hoping for a visit to our boat on Tuesday to see if all was okay after the recent floods, but alas, yet again it is not to be—Sawley Marina has three more cases of coronavirus.  Mind you, with over 100 residents it's only to be expected once there was a victim.

And I hear other marinas that have residents now have cases of the virus, though not confirming...

Good news

Any road up, as we say up here, a bit of good news.

Keith Gudgin tells me that the repair to Tuppenhurst Bridge (56) on the Trent & Mersey at Handsacre has been completed early with the navigation now open.

There were a couple of difficulties with the sealing of the dams and discovering a section of defective wall which needed repair, but all is sorted and the waterway open five days early.

Victor Swift.