We were promised a positive future

Published: Monday, 03 May 2021

HOW sad it has become, the Canal & River Trust taking over from British Waterways Board, promising a positive future for our inland waterways!  Writes Brian D Jarrett.

The reality, is this grubby charitable trust is proving to be completely incapable of maintaining a navigable canal system around our country and is instead hiding behind its re-profiled and re-branded 'feel good' charity.

Profits into private sub contractors

It now outsources most of the maintenance work that needs continually addressing on a 200 year old system, putting profits into these private sub contractors.

Headline quotes '£45 million on winter maintenance'.  But when broken down how much is spent on H&S requirements and profit element in the sub contractors quote; how much is left for actual work to be done?

Continual breakdowns and closures

CaRT used to state that boating is the centre of its policy.  However when one now looks at the sell-off of various assets (Stop House Braunston, buildings at Kingwood Junction to name but two, and the continual breakdowns and closures of the system, we are rapidly moving back to the 'remainder canal' policy of the old BWB days.

It appears that perhaps the only way to really make this 'trust' change its current direction of travel is for boaters to unite and 'withhold' their licence fees, paying them into an escrow account to be held until boaters are involved more closely in the programmed maintenance of the inland waterways, this to also include canal societies, marina owners and hire boat companies.

Gets platitudes

Whilst it says we only contribute around 10% let’s see if this action might effect positive change.  Certainly trying to communicate with them only gets platitudes and corporate-speak!