Not continuously cruising
THERE are several points within the article [by John Coxon] which I wish to respond to individually, writes Ben Winchester.
Regarding the author's claim that 'there's nowhere left free to moor... It's not possible to plan a journey'; the author may not be aware that, Water-Safety-Zone policy aside, it is standard practice to double moor in and around London. Most boaters who continuously cruise in and around the London area are aware of this.
If one is happy to double moor, and is not after a particularly spot of one or two boat lengths, then there is plenty of space to moor along any stretch of London's waterways. I have found that, even when aiming for a 500 metre stretch, I have found somewhere, without fail, to moor my boat, regardless of the time of year. The author is misinformed on his point here.
Regarding the author's claim that '[the] CaRT [sic.] should state that between [the] 1st [of] January and [the] 31st [of] December[,] you must cruise at least 100 canal miles and spend at least four full months in locations at least 50 miles apart by canal', I believe the author has not considered the consequences of such a policy. Despite what he may think about 'sympathy grabbing [sic.] crocodile tears', there are many on the waterways who have work, educational or family commitments that tie them to a specific area.
Travelling by 10 canal miles to work each day (the current policy) could just about be done via environmentally-friendly public transport, cycling, or, for the intrepid, walking. However, should the author's suggested policy be implemented, which would result in a 25 canal-mile journey to and from work/school/family, there would be no way that this could be done via environmentally-friendly public transport, and the carbon footprint of the tens of thousands affected would be increased by (this author estimates) 380kg per year, if the person was travelling via the most-carbon-efficient public transport that the UK has to offer, and by 1.6 tonnes, equivalent to just over the emissions generated by a single economy-class flight to New York.
Should the author, as they seem to suggest with their comments to 'ban high [sic.] carbon emitting solid fuel heating'," be concerned with the environment, I cannot fathom why they would wish to drive up the emissions of the London boating community by close to 7,000 tonnes by implementing this policy. (I would also like to note here that my estimate for the emissions increase of their suggested policy does not include the additional distance cruised, which releases additional green-house-gas emissions through diesel combustion. Nor does it include the increase in emissions due to their demand for local public transport being shifted from the electrically-powered underground network of Central London and the surrounding areas to the predominantly diesel-powered trains and buses of rural Britain.)
Regarding the author's claim that 'If they're earning London wages then they can afford London prices'; should the author have researched London salaries, they would have found that, after tax is taken into account, the average Londoner earns just shy of £400 per month more than an average UK citizen. However, they have not considered that boaters are, in all likelihood, earning less than this amount.
Many who continuously cruise in and around London are also younger, meaning that they are less well-developed in their careers and so are also likely to be earning less than this figure. However, even if we take the author's claim at face value, we find that he is now forcing a deficit of £570 per month onto London Boaters, an amount just under the current annual license fee for a 45 foot narrowboat. I would be keen (should he wish to respond) to hear the author's opinion on gambling, debt, and whether it is ever justified to make the poorest pay proportionally more than the richest in our society?
Regardless, the author has not considered the economics of such a charge. The result of imposing a £570 per month charge on those who wish to cruise through London would be that no one would cruise through London at all. This would, therefore, not generate any additional money for the 'CaRT [sic.]' and would only result in a decrease in the quality of life of many. Is there ever a point, I ask the author, at which it is justified to empty a living space of residents (which would undoubtedly be the result of his proposed policy) in order to reduce the quality of life of those who were living there? Is the author in favour of bombing poor rural communities overseas in order to effect mass migration?
I am keen to hear the author's views on the above points.
As requested—the author's views:
IT SEEMS to me they have not read the article in the way it was written and they are just spouting the same reasons as before to excuse their policy of buying a Continuous Cruiser licence and not moving! Writes John Coxon.
They're like a broken record, I heard the same excuses nineyears ago at a CaRT public meeting in Birmingham where a couple of women were asked to leave as they kept interrupting the speakers to try to get them to agree to their mooring demands. The meeting was nothing to do with mooring or licensing!
I don't see their points on the environment aspects at all so cannot comment on them! It's not my suggestion to ban coal or impose emission charges, it's the local authorities.
My view has not changed at all. They are not CC's and have no intention of being so. The excuses about school, work etc are still not valid in my opinion. They have no more right to just moor up and sit there for months on end than I have. If their work and schools are so important then they should be thought about before choosing an abode and if they need to stay in one place then choose an abode that has rules to allow it?
100 miles is a fair yearly cruise as far as I'm concerned after all it's less than four miles per 14 days, hardly taxing is it? If not, pay your way and I think £11,000 pa is just about the right amount in London and a damn good incentive to get out and cruise continuously.
The reply [to the article] is just the usual nit picking list of excuses for them not to obey the rules and very hard to follow in the way it's written.