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Fat boats on the North Oxford


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41 minutes ago, fanshaft said:

The Canal & River Trust has a statutory obligation under the 1968 Act to maintain the Grand Union Canal for wide beam boats max 3.81 metres (12 ft 6 in) beam between Camp Hill and Berkhamsted. It can  (and does) impose navigation restrictions e.g. for passage of the tunnels.

 

 

I'm sure you will have noticed the amended T&Cs that C&RT are proposing 

 

C&RTs consultation (telling you waht there goung to do) :

 

 

Issue
Currently, we’re seeing an increase in the number of wider or larger dimensioned boats on waterways that are inappropriately sized for their use, leading to complaints, navigational obstruction and damage to our property and boats. We advertise (here) our waterway dimensions which boats on the network should comply with.

Restriction of wider or larger dimension boats to certain Waterways is not expressly covered by our terms and conditions and therefore doesn't support the Trust in managing these issues.
 
Proposed change
F.1 The boat should be fit for navigation on the Waterway where it is intended to be used.
 
F.2 Whilst cruising on our network, your Boat must not exceed the maximum craft dimensions for the Waterway at any time.  This includes the height, draught, beam and length of your vessel and where two or more boats are cruising together, the total height, beam, draught and length of both boats in their combined cruising formation.
 
F.3 Maximum craft dimensions are published on our website from time to time and may be subject to change
 

F.4 You should ensure that you have available for immediate use proper fenders of suitable material and condition, and you should use those fenders whenever there is a risk of the boat striking against any boat, structure or object

 

 

 

Note they are reserving the right to alter the dimesnions from time to time, and that the boat must not exceed the published dimensions - it could be that you are 'OK' to use a certain canal one day, but the next you cannot.

Obviously as the banksides move and the bottom gets nearer the top, its easier to alter some dimensions on a website that it is to dredge the 'ditch' or repair a bridge, etc etc.

 

Once you have a licence, you have agreed to the T&Cs, you have therefore agreed to allow C&RT to quote whatever dimension they so wish, irrespective of the 1968 Act.

 

 

 

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Note they are reserving the right to alter the dimesnions from time to time, and that the boat must not exceed the published dimensions - it could be that you are 'OK' to use a certain canal one day, but the next you cannot.

 

I asked for clarification on this one - I was advised that the draft condition was badly worded and this will be amended - the intention is that they may temporarily reduce dimensions where works or structural issues make this necessary - e.g. if there is a landslip and a narrow channel can be quickly opened but a wider one will take some time, of if one gate becomes inoperable on a wide lock 

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Just now, magpie patrick said:

I asked for clarification on this one - I was advised that the draft condition was badly worded and this will be amended - the intention is that they may temporarily reduce dimensions where works or structural issues make this necessary - e.g. if there is a landslip and a narrow channel can be quickly opened but a wider one will take some time, of if one gate becomes inoperable on a wide lock 

 

That's interesting - I wonder how the final published T&Cs will read ?

Who knows - they may even have forgotten their discussions with you.

 

If no one queries things they will try and slip anything thru.

 

Cynical ?

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29 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

I'm sure you will have noticed the amended T&Cs that C&RT are proposing 

 

C&RTs consultation (telling you waht there goung to do) :

 

 

Issue
Currently, we’re seeing an increase in the number of wider or larger dimensioned boats on waterways that are inappropriately sized for their use, leading to complaints, navigational obstruction and damage to our property and boats. We advertise (here) our waterway dimensions which boats on the network should comply with.

Restriction of wider or larger dimension boats to certain Waterways is not expressly covered by our terms and conditions and therefore doesn't support the Trust in managing these issues.
 
Proposed change
F.1 The boat should be fit for navigation on the Waterway where it is intended to be used.
 
F.2 Whilst cruising on our network, your Boat must not exceed the maximum craft dimensions for the Waterway at any time.  This includes the height, draught, beam and length of your vessel and where two or more boats are cruising together, the total height, beam, draught and length of both boats in their combined cruising formation.
 
F.3 Maximum craft dimensions are published on our website from time to time and may be subject to change
 

F.4 You should ensure that you have available for immediate use proper fenders of suitable material and condition, and you should use those fenders whenever there is a risk of the boat striking against any boat, structure or object

 

 

 

Note they are reserving the right to alter the dimesnions from time to time, and that the boat must not exceed the published dimensions - it could be that you are 'OK' to use a certain canal one day, but the next you cannot.

Obviously as the banksides move and the bottom gets nearer the top, its easier to alter some dimensions on a website that it is to dredge the 'ditch' or repair a bridge, etc etc.

 

Once you have a licence, you have agreed to the T&Cs, you have therefore agreed to allow C&RT to quote whatever dimension they so wish, irrespective of the 1968 Act.

 

 

 

Never mind getting a wide beam boat up that section I('d like to see someone try a 4 ft draft!

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3 hours ago, magpie patrick said:

I asked for clarification on this one - I was advised that the draft condition was badly worded and this will be amended - the intention is that they may temporarily reduce dimensions where works or structural issues make this necessary - e.g. if there is a landslip and a narrow channel can be quickly opened but a wider one will take some time, of if one gate becomes inoperable on a wide lock 

 

3 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

I'm sure you will have noticed the amended T&Cs that C&RT are proposing 

 

C&RTs consultation (telling you waht there goung to do) :

 

 

Issue
Currently, we’re seeing an increase in the number of wider or larger dimensioned boats on waterways that are inappropriately sized for their use, leading to complaints, navigational obstruction and damage to our property and boats. We advertise (here) our waterway dimensions which boats on the network should comply with.

Restriction of wider or larger dimension boats to certain Waterways is not expressly covered by our terms and conditions and therefore doesn't support the Trust in managing these issues.
 
Proposed change
F.1 The boat should be fit for navigation on the Waterway where it is intended to be used.
 
F.2 Whilst cruising on our network, your Boat must not exceed the maximum craft dimensions for the Waterway at any time.  This includes the height, draught, beam and length of your vessel and where two or more boats are cruising together, the total height, beam, draught and length of both boats in their combined cruising formation.
 
F.3 Maximum craft dimensions are published on our website from time to time and may be subject to change
 

F.4 You should ensure that you have available for immediate use proper fenders of suitable material and condition, and you should use those fenders whenever there is a risk of the boat striking against any boat, structure or object

 

 

 

Note they are reserving the right to alter the dimesnions from time to time, and that the boat must not exceed the published dimensions - it could be that you are 'OK' to use a certain canal one day, but the next you cannot.

Obviously as the banksides move and the bottom gets nearer the top, its easier to alter some dimensions on a website that it is to dredge the 'ditch' or repair a bridge, etc etc.

 

Once you have a licence, you have agreed to the T&Cs, you have therefore agreed to allow C&RT to quote whatever dimension they so wish, irrespective of the 1968 Act.

 

 

 


I'm not sure that the explanation given to Patrick sits well with proposed change F3.

Why would  temporarily reducing dimensions (where works or structural issues make this necessary) need a change to maximum craft dimensions published on CRT's website? Surely, as has always been the practice, a stoppage notice is the place to document a temporary restriction.

As mentioned above, under the 1968 Transport Act, CRT has to make many of its waterways generally available to boats not exceeding certain dimensions (the so called statutory dimensions). These dimensions can only be altered by the relevant minister.
 

However, for many years, CRT (and BW before it) have been altering statutory dimensions and it would appear that, until now, nobody has noticed or objected.

I would suggest that CRT decided to override the 1968 Act by replacing it with own Terms and Conditions which would give the appearance of making changes to statutory dimensions 'legal'.

Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag and the Information Commissioner has undertaken a criminal investigation after CRT falsely claimed that they had not changed statutory dimensions.

 

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4 minutes ago, Allan(nb Albert) said:

Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag and the Information Commissioner has undertaken a criminal investigation after CRT falsely claimed that they had not changed statutory dimensions.

 

 

Is that documented anywhere ?

 

'Has' or 'are undertaking' ............. ?

 

If 'has', what was the result ?

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47 minutes ago, Allan(nb Albert) said:

 


I'm not sure that the explanation given to Patrick sits well with proposed change F3.

Why would  temporarily reducing dimensions (where works or structural issues make this necessary) need a change to maximum craft dimensions published on CRT's website? Surely, as has always been the practice, a stoppage notice is the place to document a temporary restriction.

As mentioned above, under the 1968 Transport Act, CRT has to make many of its waterways generally available to boats not exceeding certain dimensions (the so called statutory dimensions). These dimensions can only be altered by the relevant minister.
 

However, for many years, CRT (and BW before it) have been altering statutory dimensions and it would appear that, until now, nobody has noticed or objected.

I would suggest that CRT decided to override the 1968 Act by replacing it with own Terms and Conditions which would give the appearance of making changes to statutory dimensions 'legal'.

Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag and the Information Commissioner has undertaken a criminal investigation after CRT falsely claimed that they had not changed statutory dimensions.

 

ISTR they "Temporarily" reduced the canal draught at the Minworth Embankment repairs some years ago, they might have subsequently tinkered with it ( many thanks due to Nicknorman for spotting this) although I'm sure they wouldn't have bothered if they weren't caught out......

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10 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

Is that documented anywhere ?

 

'Has' or 'are undertaking' ............. ?

 

If 'has', what was the result ?

I posted about this a while back on this forum.

Some of the information is in the public domain on whatdotheyknow.com. 

Investigation is ongoing but a criminal prosecution will not take place.

 

 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, archie57 said:

ISTR they "Temporarily" reduced the canal draught at the Minworth Embankment repairs some years ago, they might have subsequently tinkered with it ( many thanks due to Nicknorman for spotting this) although I'm sure they wouldn't have bothered if they weren't caught out......

They reduced the draught of the Ashby to 3' in 2020. It's now back to 3' 6" ...

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7 minutes ago, Allan(nb Albert) said:

They reduced the draught of the Ashby to 3' in 2020. It's now back to 3' 6" ...

3' 6" - only if there's 6" of water running weir! Trouble is, they seem unable/unwilling to maintain the levels.......... It reminds me of a certain Mr Smith from Hillmorton yard - the first sign of a cloud in the sky and up would go the flood paddles - shame they weren't so prompt at dropping them!

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12 hours ago, archie57 said:

3' 6" - only if there's 6" of water running weir! Trouble is, they seem unable/unwilling to maintain the levels.......... It reminds me of a certain Mr Smith from Hillmorton yard - the first sign of a cloud in the sky and up would go the flood paddles - shame they weren't so prompt at dropping them!

I assume you mean that there is at least 150mm of dredging needed throughout in order to comply with the draught dimension.

 

Do you have an estimate of how much that would cost to achieve?

 

Similarly, what would the annual cost be across the system to maintain the statutory draught?

 

Whilst it is one thing to say that this is just a sign of a long period of neglect, the important question is what should be done in the future? It seems highly likely that there is no financial or operation model on the table, even if the priorities were agreed, that is going to achieve this. So, what should be the response? 

 

Probably the main choice, having decided how much dredging can be done each year, is between leaving the statutory dimensions as they are but recognising that they are but an aspiration, or between changing the dimensions (by the proper route).

 

The problem with leaving them as-is, is that then there is scant accountability since 'everyone' knows that CaRT are bound to fail and no-one is then held accountable to an achievable standard. It also means that no-one with a boat approaching the max has any meaningful guidance on whether or not they can expect to navigate a particular stretch.

 

For me, I would rather have an agreed standard that is both achievable (but not unreasonably slack) and accountable. Of course, I am assuming that there is an effective accountability mechanism in place and, at present given the financial context, there is little sign of that happening or even being that their are mechanisms in place that genuinely hold CaRT to account. To put that in place requires, amongst a number of things, people with the skill and knowledge as well as the managerial expertise prepared to apply those to accountability rather than actually being involved. 

 

In the end, holding a body to account requires someone to have the ability to suggest a realistic and better alternative that is acceptable all round. It is no use simply sacking the manager after a few lost matches as so many football clubs keep discovering.

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2 hours ago, Mike Todd said:

I assume you mean that there is at least 150mm of dredging needed throughout in order to comply with the draught dimension.

 

Do you have an estimate of how much that would cost to achieve?

 

Similarly, what would the annual cost be across the system to maintain the statutory draught?

 

Whilst it is one thing to say that this is just a sign of a long period of neglect, the important question is what should be done in the future? It seems highly likely that there is no financial or operation model on the table, even if the priorities were agreed, that is going to achieve this. So, what should be the response? 

 

Probably the main choice, having decided how much dredging can be done each year, is between leaving the statutory dimensions as they are but recognising that they are but an aspiration, or between changing the dimensions (by the proper route).

 

The problem with leaving them as-is, is that then there is scant accountability since 'everyone' knows that CaRT are bound to fail and no-one is then held accountable to an achievable standard. It also means that no-one with a boat approaching the max has any meaningful guidance on whether or not they can expect to navigate a particular stretch.

 

For me, I would rather have an agreed standard that is both achievable (but not unreasonably slack) and accountable. Of course, I am assuming that there is an effective accountability mechanism in place and, at present given the financial context, there is little sign of that happening or even being that their are mechanisms in place that genuinely hold CaRT to account. To put that in place requires, amongst a number of things, people with the skill and knowledge as well as the managerial expertise prepared to apply those to accountability rather than actually being involved. 

 

In the end, holding a body to account requires someone to have the ability to suggest a realistic and better alternative that is acceptable all round. It is no use simply sacking the manager after a few lost matches as so many football clubs keep discovering.

We already have an agreed standard and a mechanism for altering that standard - The Transport Act 1968 Section 105.

The problem is that Defra is unaware of the standard (I asked!). It does not hold a copy of the statutory dimensions or maps showing where these are maintained on river waterways. Even if it did, I am fairly certain it would not enforce them.

The other problem is that, for many years, boaters have also been unaware of the statutory dimensions. Even if they were aware, the only way they could realistically be enforced is via judicial review which would probably fail.

It is worth noting that, when CRT asked government for additional money last year, none of that was for dredging -

Has CaRT’s government bid for £220m extra funding failed?

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The sensible approach, should anyone really want the system to survive, would be to dump the whole "heritage" concept and treat it purely as a modern leisure facility, with a minor purpose of affordable housing.

Unlist everything, so modern materials and methods could be used for repairs, park all the pointless "working" boats in a museum and accept that its future (if it has one) is for hobby boaters, liveaboard genuinely cruising CCers, the odd managed linear housing estate and fishermen.

I'll just mention I'd personally rather it was maintained properly in its historical state, but as it isn't going to be, there are choices to be made. There is no money, and there's a lot less coming.

Edited by Arthur Marshall
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6 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

The sensible approach, should anyone really want the system to survive, would be to dump the whole "heritage" concept and treat it purely as a modern leisure facility, with a minor purpose of affordable housing.

Unlist everything, so modern materials and methods could be used for repairs, park all the pointless "working" boats in a museum and accept that its future (if it has one) is for hobby boaters, liveaboard genuinely cruising CCers, the odd managed linear housing estate and fishermen.

I'll just mention I'd personally rather it was maintained properly in its historical state, but as it isn't going to be, there are choices to be made. There is no money, and there's a lot less coming.

Thats all very well, but what to do when moderns get stuck? Call a sod it and make maximum width 6 foot. I can hear the wailing from here.

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22 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

The sensible approach, should anyone really want the system to survive, would be to dump the whole "heritage" concept and treat it purely as a modern leisure facility, with a minor purpose of affordable housing.

Unlist everything, so modern materials and methods could be used for repairs, park all the pointless "working" boats in a museum and accept that its future (if it has one) is for hobby boaters, liveaboard genuinely cruising CCers, the odd managed linear housing estate and fishermen.

I'll just mention I'd personally rather it was maintained properly in its historical state, but as it isn't going to be, there are choices to be made. There is no money, and there's a lot less coming.


I’m grateful you aren’t in charge! The whole appeal is the history and the heritage for me and countless others. We should fight to keep what we have..perhaps we should knock down all listed buildings and replace them with flats...much cheaper to maintain and we are short of housing....

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Whilst Arthur & I are diametrically opposed on many subjects, I can align myself with his way of thinking on this - is it better to have something that allows us to pursue our hobby (which is what a high percentage of canal use is), or have nothing ?

 

Steam trains died out (apart from a few hard core enthusiasts)

Dino-Fuelled vehicles will soon be gone for good

Smoking is at an all time low and banned in many public places

History is being changed and re-written

 

Things move on, we evolve and we cannot live in a museum for ever.

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3 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

Whilst Arthur & I are diametrically opposed on many subjects, I can align myself with his way of thinking on this - is it better to have something that allows us to pursue our hobby (which is what a high percentage of canal use is), or have nothing ?

 

Steam trains died out (apart from a few hard core enthusiasts)

Dino-Fuelled vehicles will soon be gone for good

Smoking is at an all time low and banned in many public places

History is being changed and re-written

 

Things move on, we evolve and we cannot live in a museum for ever.


One of the appeals of living on the cut is the fact you are living in a museum!! It annoys me intensely there are those who just think of it a cheap or convenient housing. I also enjoy steam power in all forms and very happily drive a 44 year old Land Rover. Making things Modern isn’t always progress. 

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2 minutes ago, frangar said:


One of the appeals of living on the cut is the fact you are living in a museum!! It annoys me intensely there are those who just think of it a cheap or convenient housing. I also enjoy steam power in all forms and very happily drive a 44 year old Land Rover. Making things Modern isn’t always progress. 

 

I don't see it as cheap-living, even as a leisure boater my mooring and boat running costs run to around £10,000 per annum

(I like steam trains, I used to go to school on one every day. Nostalgia, is great to look back on).

 

The canals are already dying, the 'main arteries' will survive for some time but the capillaries (lesser used canals and branches) will start to be left to rot until there is a core of 2 or 3 main canals left.

There is no money to be able to maintain the whole system, there will be no more coming from DEFRA and C&RT have shown over the last 8 years that they are unable to raise 'charitable giving' to a point that even covers the cost of raising that charitable income.

They are making money from charging business to discharge or extract water, from other sources to maintain towpaths (Councils & Sustrans) and from increased property investments. Selling off 'historical' properties and structures to be able to invest in other areas of the business to be able to support maintaining a navigation.

 

Boaters do not pay anywhere near enough to cover the cost of the provision of a maintained navigation and until they do so the system will slowly die.

 

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, frangar said:


One of the appeals of living on the cut is the fact you are living in a museum!! It annoys me intensely there are those who just think of it a cheap or convenient housing. I also enjoy steam power in all forms and very happily drive a 44 year old Land Rover. Making things Modern isn’t always progress. 

Of course it is, it's why I love boating. But it is also cheap and convenient housing, and very probably always was. It's different things to different people, and if it isn't taken out of the museum, it will be just walkers and fishermen left - as was the case with the canal where I grew up. I never knew the things had real boats on them.

It doesn't matter that a few hundred of us love the heritage aspect, nobody else does, certainly not taxpayers, certainly not finance ministers, and certainly not the hundreds who chuck old mattresses and shopping trolleys in. And once diesel engines are banned, there go your hobby working boats.

Not that it matters much, sadly, it's probably past saving already, really. Compare major crises with twenty years ago and it's soon going to simply be unaffordable.

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1 hour ago, Arthur Marshall said:

The sensible approach, should anyone really want the system to survive, would be to dump the whole "heritage" concept and treat it purely as a modern leisure facility, with a minor purpose of affordable housing.

Unlist everything, so modern materials and methods could be used for repairs, park all the pointless "working" boats in a museum and accept that its future (if it has one) is for hobby boaters, liveaboard genuinely cruising CCers, the odd managed linear housing estate and fishermen.

I'll just mention I'd personally rather it was maintained properly in its historical state, but as it isn't going to be, there are choices to be made. There is no money, and there's a lot less coming.

 

That's a slippery slope, don't go there. 12" should be adequate for canoes and paddleboards and a lot safer when the cyclists fall in,  canal could be a lot narrower too, more room for cyclists.

 

Tell me I am wrong?  There are many examples of slippery slopes, the outcome is inevitable.

 

..............Dave.

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1 minute ago, dmr said:

There are many examples of slippery slopes, the outcome is inevitable.

 

 

This slippery slope started some years ago we are now at the 'ever-accelerating' stage where it suddenly takes on a life of its own.

 

That is why I (we) decided to leave before it became too unpleasant.

 

The last 20 years has seen ever increasing difficulties in using the canal system - I'm just glad that I saw its improvements during the 80's and to its peak in the late 90's.

 

That is why I (we) decided to leave before it became too unpleasant.

 

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

This slippery slope started some years ago we are now at the 'ever-accelerating' stage where it suddenly takes on a life of its own.

 

That is why I (we) decided to leave before it became too unpleasant.

 

The last 20 years has seen ever increasing difficulties in using the canal system - I'm just glad that I saw its improvements during the 80's and to its peak in the late 90's.

 

That is why I (we) decided to leave before it became too unpleasant.

 

Thankfully there are those of us who won’t run away and are prepared to stay and fight for what we enjoy. If people followed your path we’d have lost the cut in the 60’s...not to mention any form of industrial heritage or national trust property. 

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1 hour ago, frangar said:


I’m grateful you aren’t in charge! The whole appeal is the history and the heritage for me and countless others. We should fight to keep what we have..perhaps we should knock down all listed buildings and replace them with flats...much cheaper to maintain and we are short of housing....

That is what happens to a lot of them

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