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Mike Todd

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Everything posted by Mike Todd

  1. When I started driving, (circa 1960) the insurance company made it clear that in the event of an accident never to make any statement that could be construed as an admission of liability - hence the courteous apology was ruled out of order. I must confess that I have not checked this advice in a long time!
  2. see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rates-and-allowances-excise-duty-hydrocarbon-oils/excise-duty-hydrocarbon-oils-rates There is specific entry for bio fuel not for road use.
  3. A good example of the difference between 'responsible' and 'liable' in insurance matters. It is not really important to know who is responsible as it is liability that determines whether a claim can be made against a particular party. When more than one party is involved it does happen that a chain of claims is processed. Whilst it might be satisfying to claim against a passing boater, unless they were breaking any stated speed limit then they are unlikely to be liable. To be fair, they could probably not see that the 'other' boat was not secured - normally the response is that any boat owner should ensure that their boat is secured against any normal traffic. I expect that The Biscuits is correct.
  4. Anything that depends on a magnetic compass for direction will work better well away from a metal boat!
  5. You could, of course, ask for a comparison with a solid round bar but that is 'silly'. In a way, your requested comparisons are equally silly, as any practical structure will contain sufficient material in the right places for the specific application. I doubt very much whether a formal stress analysis (dynamic as well as static) has been carried out for a narrowboat in its design phase! What happens, and happened for a long time with ships, is that 'rules' evolve to distil know practice of what has survived and what has not. This has the advantage that it takes into account loads that cannot currently be analysed (may even not be describable). It has the disadvantage that it does not encourage innovation and may lead to either insufficient or wasted material being used. Early steel leisure narrowboats (which are a significantly different structural problem from working boats) followed a classical process of reducing the thickness of material sued until eventually some were found to be inadequate. As far as I know, the decisions to return to slightly thicker steels was not because of static structural strength (which is what is being talked about when discussing lifting a boat on two fixed points) Sadly. my structural knowledge is now about as useful as the steel in a rusted out ancient working boat! Alas, I have never really re-plated that knowledge to extend its life . . .
  6. We moored above Blue Banks Lock 37 last summer - after having left our overnight mooring on the Gardens pontoon (not currently locked but felt safe enough - we had no problem leaving it there in the morning to go across to visit the cathedral. We have also moored here on the way down in readiness for the river section ahead on the following morning.
  7. The launch of a hull down a slip way is one of the more demanding structural situation. The ship rotates on the fore puppet until it fully enters the water. Stopping running into the opposite bank, if launched on a river like the Tyne, is fun as well.
  8. Ships have to be designed for the situation in waves at sea which can create the analogous situation of being perched stem and stern on a wave with the middle on next to nothing! Of course, the real demands are in dynamic rather than static conditions. Most of this does not apply to canal craft. Double bottoms for ships were adopted for large ships more with a view to preventing pollution rather than structural strength.
  9. I think that the thickness for nbs is engineered with a view to corrosion rather than impact and certainly not in static strength.
  10. In know and I was not really commenting on the specific case. However, too many people read these articles and succumb to the temptation, often in response to considerable housing and economic pressure. It is rarely the answer that is expected, as far as I can see.
  11. A tent on the roadside would be even cheaper if somewhat more basic. The problem with the story is that it does not compare like with like - much of the difference lies in convenience and comfort. Of course, she might have been living in a Rachman style flat with limited comfort but that is much rarer than the fact that moving permanently onto a boat is very much about trading down in comfort and convenience. I would also want to encourage those contemplating such a trade to think through the longer term needs as, for the reasons you set out above, moving back when you need to is likely to get a larger problem as time passes (ie the cost of getting back into property) OK, so the NHS is less accessible at the moment but in general it does a great job but its services are often based on the assumption about living in bricks and mortar in a given place. I've see a number of people finding out the hard way what is involved in getting treatment if you are always on the move. It is a lot better than it used to be, thanks to mobile internet, but still problematic. At least CaRT are generally very accommodating if longer stays suddenly become necessary.
  12. Burning better/hotter is not the same as more efficient. It may just be burning more fuel as a result of a stronger draw.
  13. Almost all the changes do have a packaging change - they reduce the weight of the contents!
  14. You might be right - although it will always be a matter of opinion/judgement. Do you have figures to back your claim, which is quite strident if you really do believe that reducing the management structure could make any kind of dent in £100M? Do you have same figures for one or two comparable organisations?
  15. Not sure where you get your licenc fees from. According to the CaRT fee calculator, 21m + 2 m is £1125. Most boats will be less than this. Whence £1400?
  16. Not sure where you get this from: it is not the role of navigation authorities to be providers of social housing (see debate from NBTA) - it is the role of housing authorities and the benefit system, which works as well it is possible, again withing available funding which is arguably inadequate. Equally, it is not the role of navigation authorities to be part of the social security/benefit system - that is largely a matter for the Treasury. If it is considered politically desirable to enable people to choose to live permanently on the canals on a basis that is beyond their means then we already have systems in place to address that (eg housing benefit). It is a different argument (not really for here) as to whether those systems are enabled to work the way you want them to, but the systems are established. The Waterway Chaplains, for example, have done quite a bit of work to ensure that those who qualify can obtain housing benefit for their licences. A substantial hike in licence fees is not going to hit those whose home is on the canals and who are on marginal income, so much as those who see having a canal boat (owned or hired) as a good way of enhancing their life experience and retaining what little sanity they are allowed to keep. Methinks you are tilting at the wrong windmill.
  17. Middle of summer, we were shot at and window smashed, fired from fields just below Mountsorrel . . .
  18. That surely cannot be anywhere near true. The amount of water used is the capacity of the lock plus or minus the displacement of the boat (at its simplest) - which is a fraction of the lock capacity. Insofar as a WB is more than two NB then they will use a different amount but only by a very small amount, probably much less than any of the other second order variables
  19. This is always a tempting argument, but is usually wholly fallacious: If you could predict exactly which asset is going to fail in the next 12 months then a pre-emptive repair is likely to be cheaper than waiting for it to fail with secondary damage (your argument). However, if such prediction was possible then we would not have this debate. In practice, the ratio of surviving to failing assets is so large that pre-emptive maintenance is stratospherically expensive and unaffordable. The basis of decision making reverts to budget limits rather than individually efficient choices.
  20. Only if going downhill. Otherwise it is more (see 2015 thread on this forum for an extensive debate). Some might argue that wide beam boaters are less experienced and much more likely to waste water - but that is sheer prejudice . . . (You could even construct a similar case for shiny v non-shiny boats!)
  21. Well before settling on a method of raising income, it is necessary to gain agreement on what it is that society wants to do with the canals. If society wishes to retain the canals as a contribution to the environment and well-being then it is clear that the public money element should increase substantially. If, on the other hand, it wishes to see the system as something principally, if not wholly, for the benefit of boaters then it is also clear that an all round increase in licence fee is appropriate and certainly an ability-to-pay approach would be wholly inappropriate. Of course, in the latter case it is likely that their will be a strong demand to charge other users (anglers, cyclists, walkers etc) a cost-based element. I can just imaging the reaction from the lycra crowd to having to pay, say, £500 a year to enter the towpath network! Of course, that would also have deleterious consequences as much of the towpath maintenance is now funded by local authorities etc as a public benefit. Reverting that cost onto boaters would be a real problem. In any event, charging other users would have admin and enforcement difficulties.
  22. Would be interesting to see an expert legal opinion - the above seems to suggest that CaRT can create categories of boats but would it be legal to create categories of boaters? Remember it is the boat which is registered, although recently a bit more confused by making the licence non-transferable.
  23. One of the well-known problems with Council Tax is that ability to pay is not well correlated to property value. Whilst they may well correlate at the time of purchase (if indeed that is how they came into ownership) they do not after time. Specifically, retired people (who seem to be a particular concern in this debate) often continue to live in the house they had whilst in work and had a much higher income. Property values do not correlate as well with pensions. as earned incomes. As with some arguments in relation to housing and council tax in regard to persuading retirees to downsize, allowing a younger, larger, family to buy their house (not a particularly great argument when you look at it in detail) perhaps you feel that retirees should have to buy a smaller boat!
  24. To reply to several posts: One of the problems with a property value tax (eg rateable value) is that prices are volatile yet the total take needs to be stable - would it be acceptable to have to halve the number of child protection officers (say) just because house pri8ces dropped dramatically? The result has been that rateable values are based on a notional time frame and gradually drift away from reality. The cost and consequences of a universal re-valuation at a single point in time have deterred successive governments who keep putting it off. One of the problems with pay-by-use is in deciding which things to charge for and at what tariff. Determining actual cost of provision is hard and again can have unintended consequences. (eg allocating business overheads to different departments can be a highly political process) If the idea is to raise the money to run the system this way then each item charged has to cover more than its inherent cost. As a means of taxation it suffers also if the consumer has a choice over whether to use the service or not. It is not possible to assume simply that everything else in a system stays the same apart from the bit you want to change. It practice, a lot else adapts to the new context. So, let us take a very simple example (and some want simplicity!) let us suppose that we double the income from boaters by charging for sewage disposal at a level that will raise the amount required. Then, a smart business person spots an opportunity and offers an alternative at a quarter of the cost and everyone stops buying from CaRT. The basis for suggesting that access to the right to navigate should take into account individual financial circumstances is not obvious. For the most part, boaters are not compelled to use the canals, it is a matter of personal choice. Most other things in life where there is a similar choice, the broad assumption is that if you want something then you pay for it at the going rate. Some thigs are deemed to be necessities in a civilised society and so are charged on an ability to pay basis - for example policing and homeland security. We no longer consider it right to require everyone to have their own policing contractor (save for cases where the social aspect does not apply eg paying for police at football matches) In the area of housing - which arguably comes into the necessity category - attempts to provide social housing (laughingly called affordable housing!) other than by Council Housing (ie provided on a basis very similar to benefits) have been a spectacular failure. In most cases all that has happened is that the public money ends up in the pockets of developers, usually the large ones. It is a misunderstanding to suggest that insurance value is stable like rateable values. The former are set by commercial businesses whilst the latter are formulaic and intended to be immune to economic cycles. (ie we want business rates and council tax to be the same whether we are in a boom or a recession) In any event, the insurances value is only part of the equation in arriving an an annual premium. eg premiums rise when economic conditions lead to sharp rises in repair or replacement costs. Any significant change in the basis of the licence fee will, as I understand it, entail primary legislation. At the present time, were this to be undertaken (and there is slim chance of time being made available anyway) any government would take the opportunity to solve its problems not the boaters'. Specifically, it will seek to reduce - or even eliminate - any call on public money other than for very limited social requirements (eg flood control) The result is most likely to be a comprehensive shift towards CaRT being self sufficient with all services being charged at an economic level. There will be no scope for 'ability to pay' in any way. Incidentally, in one of the areas of greater income, the charges CaRT makes for water management, in the past few years CaRT have woken up to this and increased their charges (such as for water supply or drainage). I believe that in some cases customers suddenly found themselves with a more than doubled charge with little alternative in the short term but to stump up. As I said before, I have spent quite a lot of time in devising comparable 'taxation' schemes and am all too aware of the complexities. One of the dangers is that people see a system that is not perfect and assume that change is a given. "If it is broken then it should be mended." The fallacy is that there is of necessity a better way. Sometimes, we have to learn to live with a scheme that has flaws but is a good compromise between lots of competing aims. It will never be 'perfect'. It may well be the case that the current is about as good as it gets.
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