• Dear Guest, and welcome to RailUK Forums. Our non-railway discussion forums are currently restricted until members have five or more posts, and you will not be able to make a new thread or reply to an existing one in this section until you have made five or more posts elsewhere on the forum.

Canal boat dwellers told to keep moving

Status
Not open for further replies.

fishquinn

Established Member
Associate Staff
Quizmaster
Joined
4 Oct 2013
Messages
6,636
Location
Warwickshire
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36046323

BBC News said:
Canal boat owners with "continuous cruiser" licences must keep moving to a new place every 14 days. Many people who live on their boats are complaining that the way the rule is being interpreted - having to travel in one direction - means their children can't go to school.

The Canal and River Trust (CRT), which took over control of the 2,000-mile English and Welsh canal network in 2012 from the old British Waterways, takes it to mean that boaters must be on a continuous journey, mostly in one direction, from one place to another. According to CRT they must travel at least 15-20 miles a year, and usually much further.
Many boaters are falling foul of this ruling when, instead, they shuttle backwards and forwards over one relatively short stretch of the same canal, because of the need to get to a job or school.

Personally, I think this is a tad harsh. A licence should give you unlimited travel on the canal, as far (or not far) as you want to go. I've never even heard of this '15-20 mile' rule either! Luckily we aren't affected by this. What do others think?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

furnessvale

Established Member
Joined
14 Jul 2015
Messages
4,175
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36046323



Personally, I think this is a tad harsh. A licence should give you unlimited travel on the canal, as far (or not far) as you want to go. I've never even heard of this '15-20 mile' rule either! Luckily we aren't affected by this. What do others think?

There is a certain section of canal boat owners who wish to moor in one spot on the towpath and never move. Unfortunately the same people to not want to pay a mooring fee either.

They have formed an organisation to press their case that CRT is being unfair to them and they have got the ear of the BBC to push their cause.

As a "continuous cruiser" you are supposed to be engaged in "bone fide" navigation, ie moving about. CRT have struggled with this for years and have suggested 15-20 miles a YEAR could be enough.

This still does not please this group who consider 15-20 miles a YEAR to be a major unfair imposition.

In my opinion it should have been a minimum of 200 miles a year with a requirement to be recorded within that year at two separate points at least 75 miles apart.

Only under those conditions could someone truly be said to be "continuously cruising".
 

Kite159

Veteran Member
Joined
27 Jan 2014
Messages
15,497
Location
West of Andover
Agreed with Furnessvale, if they don't want to pay mooring fees (which to be honest can be expensive) then they have to keep moving.

(Brings back memories of the time my family had a boat on the K&A near Trowbridge and of the current boat up on the Oxford Canal near the southern junction with the Union Grand)
 
Last edited:

Xenophon PCDGS

Veteran Member
Joined
17 Apr 2011
Messages
28,337
Location
A semi-rural part of north-west England
It was the mention of a policy meaning that any children could not attend school that concerns me. How did parents on those boats attend to that specific matter previously and would not a constant change of school be a disrupting influence upon the education of such children let alone the making of school friendships that occur in the normal course of events.
 

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,728
Location
Fenny Stratford
Looking at boats on my section of the grand union they seem to move often but short distance then turn around and then do the journey in revers. They may cover a 10 mile stretch in short bursts
 

fishquinn

Established Member
Associate Staff
Quizmaster
Joined
4 Oct 2013
Messages
6,636
Location
Warwickshire
The problem is that you're not recorded every time. When we've been out and about I think we've been checked less than 5 times, and that's most certainly not on every trip. 200 miles is a very long way on the canal too, especially if you have a boat that can't navigate some stretches of canal.
 

furnessvale

Established Member
Joined
14 Jul 2015
Messages
4,175
It was the mention of a policy meaning that any children could not attend school that concerns me. How did parents on those boats attend to that specific matter previously and would not a constant change of school be a disrupting influence upon the education of such children let alone the making of school friendships that occur in the normal course of events.

People have to balance all aspects of their way of life.

If you want to live on a canal boat, but not travel round the country because school or work is a priority, then you really need to find a mooring so you can stay in one spot.

The advice has always been, find a mooring BEFORE buying a boat. Sadly so many people now, especially around London and the Kennet and Avon, are seeing the canals as a cheap, possibly only, housing option.

However, CRT are not a housing authority. If people started filling Hyde Park with caravans because of the London housing shortage, they would be gone a lot quicker than all the permanent moorers on the canals in those areas.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The problem is that you're not recorded every time. When we've been out and about I think we've been checked less than 5 times, and that's most certainly not on every trip. 200 miles is a very long way on the canal too, especially if you have a boat that can't navigate some stretches of canal.

You've probably been checked more often than you think, normally at least twice a month.

The 200 miles I referred to may seem excessive but I am talking about a 12 month period which means an average of just over half a mile a day.

Continuous cruising should mean some sort of journey. I think we all know bridge hoppers shuttling about over a mile or two but the very generous offer by CRT of 15-20 miles per annum seems to be too onerous for them.
 

fishquinn

Established Member
Associate Staff
Quizmaster
Joined
4 Oct 2013
Messages
6,636
Location
Warwickshire
We have a private mooring so only get a licence when we need one to head out on the main. I guess that'd work but there'd almost certainly be some doubling back required!
 

Daz28

Member
Joined
11 Feb 2010
Messages
309
Location
Elmstead Woods
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36046323



Personally, I think this is a tad harsh. A licence should give you unlimited travel on the canal, as far (or not far) as you want to go. I've never even heard of this '15-20 mile' rule either! Luckily we aren't affected by this. What do others think?

Travelling at 4 miles per hour, they only need to cruise for 5 hours per year to meet the minimum requirement. Easily achievable given weekends, school holidays etc.

Quite a nice lifestyle also, Mon-Fri up and down a short stretch whilst working/at school, and lots of trips further afield weekends and holidays.
 

Lou92

Member
Joined
8 Feb 2014
Messages
40
Location
Carlisle
My brother is in the same boat (so to speak :lol: ). He frequently complains about being moved and readily admits to being a 'canal gypsy' type. My own opinion is that he should pay at least something towards the upkeep of the canal, just as vehicle owners do with the road tax.
 

Trog

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2009
Messages
1,495
Agree time to pull the plug on those that do not follow the rules.
 

sbt

Member
Joined
12 Oct 2011
Messages
268
I am someone who until recently lived on a boat, on a legal residential mooring. I was also been heavily involved in Canal Restoration for a time. I also have friends afloat, none of whom are on a Continuous Cruiser licence - but then they are 'hard core' boaters, involved in the canals since childhood (and in one case, born on a boat), active at various times in restoring them.

There are lots of issues involved here. Most of the ire against CRT regards the inconsistent way they manage things. Various rules and guidelines have been advertised culminating in the 20 mile 'rule' which turned out not to be a rule at all, if you travelled that 20 miles in a manner (unspecified) that CRT didn't like then they took action. Now there is the 200 mile 'rule', which is great unless you brought your boat, changed jobs and otherwise arranged your life believing the rule was 20 miles, which is what was advertised until very recently. The amount of warning you get is also inconsistent and has recently reduced.

There is also the issue that boats have been sold or rented out without people being made aware of what the rules are. Those caught out that way may have been foolish but that doesn't make their situation any easier.

CRT are imposing their own interpretation on what the law actually says, which is that a boat must be 'engaged in bona-fide navigation'. Members of their staff are also on record as wanting everybody that lives on their boat off the canals. Other staff members are supportive of those who live on the cut.

There are also anti-boater, or rather anti-residential boater actions being taken beyond the enforcement of the Continuous Cruiser rules. Some are subtle, for example a recent consolation on flood defence works showed the bricks and mortar homes that would be demolished as a result of each scheme but not the legal residential moorings, which are like hens teeth, which would be removed. Nor were the boaters notified of the consultation like the house residents potentially affected. Others are less so, the current proposed Public Space Protection order in Oxford has been explicitly stated by the Deputy Leader of the council to have as its objective the removal of all residential boaters from the city, including those on legal, paid for, residential moorings, by making activities effectively essential to living aboard, like running generators or lighting a solid fuel fire, a breach of the criminal law (yes I'm serious, breaching a PSPO is a criminal act). This sort of thing is not unique.

Personally I left the Inland Waterways Association as a result of its support for CRT and its actions and the hostility that I encountered, as a residential boater, from some of its members. Its also part of the reason I stopped restoring waterways - the open hostility of a minority was getting a bit much.

There are some boaters who cause problems but they are in the minority and generally also cause problems for other boaters. There are also people who are getting afloat without understanding the issues, despite the efforts of various waterways organisations, official and voluntary, to make people better informed. Most established boaters hearts sink every time there is a gushing story about living afloat in a glossy mag, newspaper or on TV. There are probably to many boaters for the amount of mooring spots in certain areas - to which CRTs response has been to remove mooring facilities rather than encourage the creation of new ones.

To be fair to CRT they are one of the organisations suffering as a result of the housing crisis in various parts of the country. However all to often their reaction is akin to the IWA members who questioned whether my 'scuffy boat' should be allowed at a waterways festival where I was acting as a volunteer emptying their sewage. There are far to many people who have a vision of the canals as being only for those with ample incomes, polished and shiny boats and a detached house somewhere nice to go back to and CRT seem to share that vision.
 

Tetchytyke

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Sep 2013
Messages
11,620
Location
Isle of Man
This has been covered at length in Private Eye for at least the last two years, and the issues are an awful lot more complicated than simply saying "buy a residential mooring permit". The Canals and Rivers Trust senior staff have, on record, stated their desire to rid the canal system of permanent moorers, describing them in extremely unfavourable terms. Permanent moorings have been removed and fees for the remaining permanent moorings have been increased significantly.

The issue has been the change from British Waterways to the privatised Canals and Rivers Trust. British Waterways allowed things that the CRT- partly due to funding and partly due to the opinions of senior staff- are entirely unwilling to allow. The CRT are clear that they don't want permanent boaters and they see them as a nuisance; what they want are the middle classes with their shiny boats and their detached houses in Buckinghamshire.
 

sbt

Member
Joined
12 Oct 2011
Messages
268
The issue has been the change from British Waterways to the privatised Canals and Rivers Trust. British Waterways allowed things that the CRT- partly due to funding and partly due to the opinions of senior staff- are entirely unwilling to allow. The CRT are clear that they don't want permanent boaters and they see them as a nuisance; what they want are the middle classes with their shiny boats and their detached houses in Buckinghamshire.

To be fair the last few years has seen an explosion of people living on the waterways, particularly in the London area. This has been driven by the Housing Crisis, aided and abetted by a lot of 'aspirational' coverage in glossy magazines, newspapers and on TV about the upsides of living on the cut without mentioning the downsides and rules. The canals in those areas were never intended to hold that many boats and the facilities are borderline inadequate. However CRTs response, as a whole and with many notable and welcome exceptions amongst their staff, has not been to manage the problem and work with boaters, it has been to attempt to remove or pressurise people off the water as fast as they can legally do so.

This reaction is driven by a number of things, a large part of which is the antipathy of many non-residential boaters, towpath users and local residents. My own example is instructive. I am a long term Scientific Civil Servant who used to live on a totally legal mooring that I paid a lot of money for (still am - I haven't sold it yet). We weren't on BW/CRT waters, The assumption amongst locally was that the boats on the moorings were squatting and that we were at best Petty Criminals. In the boating community I was held responsible for every minor perceived or actual transgression by my neighbours, right back to events that occurred whilst I was still miles from any canal in Primary School. A senior member of the Inland Waterways Association, the umbrella organisation that has a strong influence on CRT, once physically backed me into a corner, livid at my responsibility for events that had occurred when I was 10. In another case a firm refused to do business with me as soon as they learnt I lived afloat.

In my experience it is not the Middle Classes CRT want on the waterways, it is a select subset of them and the Upper Classes who have photogenic boats with plants on the roof and polish their gunnel's (an unsafe practise - gunnel's are the narrow walkways round the side of a boat). I hasten to add that many many of such boaters are 'salt of the earth' types who do masses for the waterways and those who use and live on them - they have pretty boats because they can and they care enough about their boat to keep them attractive. A fair few are actually living aboard for large chunks, if not all, of the year (legally, I must emphasise). Take one of my friends neighbours for a start...

Part of this is, I think, driven by CRTs need for money. BW was underfunded for many long years and CRT are in the same situation. The more affluent boaters they can attract the higher the licences can be hiked. An other is driven by the fact that the Hire Firms have quite a strong voice in CRT. Pretty private boats sell waterways holidays, workaday boats with workaday people living in them don't.
 

DarloRich

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Oct 2010
Messages
25,728
Location
Fenny Stratford
which sounds a shame as the canal community seems to be very varied and people seem ( for the most part) to get along. The range of people from "hippies" to enthusiasts with a very shiny boat is vast.

We have both permanent and temporary residents next to us and there is no trouble. One guy even knocked round to say the CRT had forced him in from the countryside against his will and he would have to run his generator at night and could he apologies for the noise! In fairness it sounds like a class 37 starting up but seems to run quite gently!

I do wish the boat people would shut the bloody lock swing bridge after them though. I blame you SBT! <D;)
 

Busaholic

Established Member
Joined
7 Jun 2014
Messages
10,724
A facetious remark, but given that Primrose Hill is very close to the Regent's Canal could not some boats end up on Alan Bennett's driveway? Dust Dame Maggie off and she could take a starring role in the ensuing biopic.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top