The 'winter works' fiasco

Published: Wednesday, 26 October 2022

I READ with interest your article 'Fiasco of the winter stoppage programme' and would agree with NABO's Anne Husar that it is, indeed, a fiasco, writes Allan Richards.

Suffering with Covid over the weekend, I spent a couple of hours writing some software to compare CRT's "finalised" list of Winter Notices dated 17/08/2022 with a later version dated 20/10/2022.

At face value it would appear that having finalised Winter Works for 2022, CRT have made a series of changes but failed to inform boaters what these changes are.

Furthermore, having given NABO an assurance that a "post final" list is now the "finalised list", CRT continue updating the August list, seemingly on a daily basis.


A computer program comparison of CRT's finalised Winter Notices and a more recently published list has provided the following results:

46 Waterways have Winter Works on them. "Finalised" shows 175 stoppages. "Later version" shows 176 stoppages.

One stoppage in "finalised" is missing from "later version". Investigation suggests that this is due to a duplication of a stoppage in "finalised".

Two new stoppages appear in "later version" that are not in "finalised".

Some 16 stoppages in "finalised" have been subsequently altered in "later version". 12 of the 16 alterations have date changes.

Changes are in fact cancellations

Some of the date changes are, in fact, cancellations. CRT's database has no real mechanism for showing a stoppage as cancelled. It appears that they have deleted records but then subsequently decided to recreate them with dates "in the past" such that they appear as stoppages that have already taken place.

A couple of date changes are due to typos (e.g. end date showing 2022 rather than 2023). Other date changes are genuine changes to start and/or end dates.

Some of the four alterations that are not date changes simply correct information (e.g. for winding holes). One instance was found of downgrading a stoppage—i.e. CRT decided that the work to be carried out no longer required a stoppage.

Will not sort it out

Sadly, CRT shows no sign of attempting to sort out the fiasco. Indeed, it has told NABO that it will continue to publish a "final" list on a daily basis incorporating any changes made. However, it will not inform boaters what the changes are or even publicise that an updated list is available!

Last year, CaRT cancelled some 13 Winter Works after Christmas. This year it is starting early...