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Arthur Marshall

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25 minutes ago, fanshaft said:

The Trust doesn't spend its own funds on towpath improvements - all funded by third parties - except where necessary for navigation e.g. around locks.

David L

 

Many would argue that creating tarmac cycleways are not improvements. But hey it's free money!

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Possibly.  DEFRA will consider it a 'good thing' but the fact it's money from an alternative source could suggest to them that they don't need to pay for towpath improvements/maintenance. And believe me DEFRA are much keener on use of towpaths than boating.

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16 minutes ago, Orwellian said:

Possibly.  DEFRA will consider it a 'good thing' but the fact it's money from an alternative source could suggest to them that they don't need to pay for towpath improvements/maintenance. And believe me DEFRA are much keener on use of towpaths than boating.

 

And of course there are three KPIs realated to the towapths in order retain the DEFRA Grant i (and NOT A SINGLE KPI related to keeping the navigation open)

 

Of course when you have to show improving figures year on year and start from a ridiculously high figure to justify expenditure you end up with the impossible figure of 786,000,000 'visits' to the towapths

 

 

 

Screenshot (1721).png

 

 

 

Screenshot (1723).png

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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38 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Such folk pay their full share of a licence and, by virtue of being the above quoted "boats who never leave marinas", have the lowest possible impact on the canal infrastructure. We should all be grateful for their contribution and lightness of touch rather than treat them with disdain.

I certainly don't treat them with disdain. There are often perfectly good reasons for them not venturing out. Some simply like somewhere nice to go on a summer afternoon. My point is that they have no reason to care deeply about the state of the canals, and, in fact, won't even be aware of it. That's all.

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35 minutes ago, Orwellian said:

Many would argue that creating tarmac cycleways are not improvements. But hey it's free money!

It is worth noting that when CRT admitted to having a steady state model (that calculated annual spend needed for a system neither improving or getting worse), third party funded towpath improvements were only included in the model at 50% of cost

This is because CRT accepted that a cycleway costing say £500,000 did not bring a £500,000 improvement to the condition of infrastructure.

So even CRT is half agreeing with you!

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11 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

Such folk pay their full share of a licence and, by virtue of being the above quoted "boats who never leave marinas", have the lowest possible impact on the canal infrastructure. We should all be grateful for their contribution and lightness of touch rather than treat them with disdain.

I wasn't treating them with disdain, as you say they pay their fees and don't wear out the infrastructure. What I meant is that if they don't move it won't make any difference to them if the canals become less usable for navigation -- or even unusable... 😞

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10 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

I certainly don't treat them with disdain. There are often perfectly good reasons for them not venturing out. Some simply like somewhere nice to go on a summer afternoon. My point is that they have no reason to care deeply about the state of the canals, and, in fact, won't even be aware of it. That's all.

 

26 minutes ago, IanD said:

I wasn't treating them with disdain, as you say they pay their fees and don't wear out the infrastructure. What I meant is that if they don't move it won't make any difference to them if the canals become less usable for navigation -- or even unusable... 😞

Guys, it was a generalisation rather than targeted. Criticism of those who's boats rarely emerge from a marina is frequently heard and yet there's justification in some regards - I was just pointing out the benefits and hence why such folk perhaps should be cut a bit of slack. :)

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35 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

 

Guys, it was a generalisation rather than targeted. Criticism of those who's boats rarely emerge from a marina is frequently heard and yet there's justification in some regards - I was just pointing out the benefits and hence why such folk perhaps should be cut a bit of slack. :)

I think the fifteen or more non moving boats on my mooring keep it in business! They're no bother to the farmer and keep the money rolling in.

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15 hours ago, Goliath said:

I don’t think anyone is hoping for an end to the canals. If that’s what your implying?

 

People are generally pissed off that CRT are not keeping the canals fit for navigation.

If you’d been up North of Harecastle Tunnel over the last few years you’d understand the frustration.

It’s bad up there, I’ve spent 3 to 4 years travelling around the North West and its been allowed to get in a proper poor state.


It makes me wonder if places are left to rot so CRT can plead poverty.

 

 

There are some (frequent) posters on CWDF who seem to want *exactly* that, and repeatedly tell us either how they're glad they got out when they did or that they're going to get out soon, and nobody should be thinking about buying boats today -- especially expensive new ones! -- because CART are going to close down remainder waterways and reduce maintenance even further and spend the money on more blue signs instead. Every time anything new goes wrong on the system they repeat all this doom-mongering with an apparent sense of glee and schadenfreude...

 

Or course people -- including me! -- are p*ssed off with CART lack of maintenance, but the above whingers are so busy blaming CART for things like "spending all their money on blue signs and executive bonuses" that they ignore the elephant in the room, which that CART simply haven't got enough money to keep up with maintenance, and certainly not to catch up with the backlog which was estimated at £100M last time anyone worked it out.

 

And they're often the same people complaining about license fees or the rises in them, and asking why CART doesn't prioritise boaters over non-boaters (as I've defined them, the exact names are irrelevant), and who are up in arms if anyone dares to suggest that perhaps boaters aren't paying enough for what they get and a fee increase might help prioritise and solve the problems they keep complaining about... 😞

 

I've spent the majority of my holidays in the last ten years north of Harecastle Tunnel -- actually almost all of them, now I think about it -- and I'm 100% aware of the problems there, especially on the Rochdale and the HNC (and the Peak Forest and the Macclesfield and the L&L and...)   -- oh dear, that's almost all of them, isn't it?

 

I think your last line is the wrong way round -- these are all canals which are expensive to maintain (lots of locks etc.) and where timely or preventative maintenance hasn't been done *because* CART haven't got enough money to do this, and haven't had for some time. Many of them (HNC, Rochdale) are also very lightly used (about 300 boat movements per year over the summits IIRC compared to 6000 or so on the most popular bits of the system), and if CART are firefighting all the time to fix problems (caused partly by lack of maintenance) and they haven't got the resources to fix all of them, they have to focus repair/maintenance resources on the heavily used canals where 20x as many boaters are inconvenienced by stoppages. It's the same reason councils fix the holes in major roads first and never get round to fixing those in minor roads until someone gets hurt, they simply haven't got enough money for road maintenance.

 

I wish it wasn't like that, I absolutely love the HNC and the Rochdale (and the other Northern canals mentioned), but something has to give if you don't have enough money and resources do do everything you should be doing, and these are the first canals up against the wall... 😞

 

I still don't think they'll be closed because of various pressures not to do so including from bodies who paid for their restoration, but unless CART get more funding -- from government and/or boaters and/or all the other funding sources -- it's difficult to see things getting any better any time soon.

 

Edited by IanD
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39 minutes ago, IanD said:

 

There are some (frequent) posters on CWDF who seem to want *exactly* that, and repeatedly tell us either how they're glad they got out when they did or that they're going to get out soon, and nobody should be thinking about buying boats today -- especially expensive new ones! -- because CART are going to close down remainder waterways and reduce maintenance even further and spend the money on more blue signs instead. Every time anything new goes wrong on the system they repeat all this doom-mongering with an apparent sense of glee and schadenfreude...

 

Or course people -- including me! -- are p*ssed off with CART lack of maintenance, but the above whingers are so busy blaming CART for things like "spending all their money on blue signs and executive bonuses" that they ignore the elephant in the room, which that CART simply haven't got enough money to keep up with maintenance, and certainly not to catch up with the backlog which was estimated at £100M last time anyone worked it out.

 

And they're often the same people complaining about license fees or the rises in them, and asking why CART doesn't prioritise boaters over non-boaters (as I've defined them, the exact names are irrelevant), and who are up in arms if anyone dares to suggest that perhaps boaters aren't paying enough for what they get and a fee increase might help prioritise and solve the problems they keep complaining about... 😞

 

I've spent the majority of my holidays in the last ten years north of Harecastle Tunnel -- actually almost all of them, now I think about it -- and I'm 100% aware of the problems there, especially on the Rochdale and the HNC (and the Peak Forest and the Macclesfield and the L&L and...)   -- oh dear, that's almost all of them, isn't it?

 

I think your last line is the wrong way round -- these are all canals which are expensive to maintain (lots of locks etc.) and where timely or preventative maintenance hasn't been done *because* CART haven't got enough money to do this, and haven't had for some time. Many of them (HNC, Rochdale) are also very lightly used (about 300 boat movements per year over the summits IIRC compared to 6000 or so on the most popular bits of the system), and if CART are firefighting all the time to fix problems (caused partly by lack of maintenance) and they haven't got the resources to fix all of them, they have to focus repair/maintenance resources on the heavily used canals where 20x as many boaters are inconvenienced by stoppages. It's the same reason councils fix the holes in major roads first and never get round to fixing those in minor roads until someone gets hurt, they simply haven't got enough money for road maintenance.

 

I wish it wasn't like that, I absolutely love the HNC and the Rochdale (and the other Northern canals mentioned), but something has to give if you don't have enough money and resources do do everything you should be doing, and these are the first canals up against the wall... 😞

 

I still don't think they'll be closed because of various pressures not to do so including from bodies who paid for their restoration, but unless CART get more funding -- from government and/or boaters and/or all the other funding sources -- it's difficult to see things getting any better any time soon.

 

Your last paragraphs  - "I wish it wasn't like that, I absolutely love the HNC and the Rochdale (and the other Northern canals mentioned), but something has to give if you don't have enough money and resources do do everything you should be doing, and these are the first canals up against the wall... 😞   I still don't think they'll be closed because of various pressures not to do so including from bodies who paid for their restoration, but unless CART get more funding -- from government and/or boaters and/or all the other funding sources -- it's difficult to see things getting any better any time soon"

 

are exactly what some of us have been saying for twenty years. I don't think I've ever said it with glee, and all those who have already quit are saying how much they relished the life on the cut that they had.

But it's not just the infrastructure decay that's changed. Over the last n years, boats (probably like yours will be) have grown huge battery banks and all sorts of electronic gadgetry, so the big difference between then (when all we had were 12v systems and one or two batteries) and now is the endless noise from engines and gennies, and the assumption by a minority that everyone shares their taste in the music blasting out from either a ghetto blaster on the hatch or giant speakers beside it. The peace and quiet that lots of us, both liveaboards and holidayers, came on for has mostly gone. Even the traffic noise has doubled in volume - it's rare you can ever find silence now.

Funding can't change that. I had a trip up the Llangollen that nearly made me decide to pack it in two years ago, simply because of the appalling behaviour of other boaters. New boaters won't notice  of course (it'll be the norm), and those like yourself (I think) whose experience is just of hiring won't experience this until you start spending more time on the cut. It's still nice, but it aint what it was, and it's not why we came on in the first place any more.

Sometimes these days, it's a relief to get off the boat, get in the car and go home. I never said that even ten years ago.

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7 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Your last paragraphs  - "I wish it wasn't like that, I absolutely love the HNC and the Rochdale (and the other Northern canals mentioned), but something has to give if you don't have enough money and resources do do everything you should be doing, and these are the first canals up against the wall... 😞   I still don't think they'll be closed because of various pressures not to do so including from bodies who paid for their restoration, but unless CART get more funding -- from government and/or boaters and/or all the other funding sources -- it's difficult to see things getting any better any time soon"

 

are exactly what some of us have been saying for twenty years. I don't think I've ever said it with glee, and all those who have already quit are saying how much they relished the life on the cut that they had.

But it's not just the infrastructure decay that's changed. Over the last n years, boats (probably like yours will be) have grown huge battery banks and all sorts of electronic gadgetry, so the big difference between then (when all we had were 12v systems and one or two batteries) and now is the endless noise from engines and gennies, and the assumption by a minority that everyone shares their taste in the music blasting out from either a ghetto blaster on the hatch or giant speakers beside it. The peace and quiet that lots of us, both liveaboards and holidayers, came on for has mostly gone. Even the traffic noise has doubled in volume - it's rare you can ever find silence now.

Funding can't change that. I had a trip up the Llangollen that nearly made me decide to pack it in two years ago, simply because of the appalling behaviour of other boaters. New boaters won't notice  of course (it'll be the norm), and those like yourself (I think) whose experience is just of hiring won't experience this until you start spending more time on the cut. It's still nice, but it aint what it was, and it's not why we came on in the first place any more.

Sometimes these days, it's a relief to get off the boat, get in the car and go home. I never said that even ten years ago.

 

You're not one of the posters I was referring to... 😉

 

I've occasionally been annoyed by music from other boats, just like sometimes from cars with 1000W bass systems in driving past the house -- there are selfish people in all walks of life, and seemingly more so recently... 😞

 

If it's really irritating I've been known to go over and ask them nicely to turn it down a bit, and they usually did. If they don't I can always get the melodeon out and sit outside learning a difficult new tune, playing the same section (with bum notes) over and over again, I can do this for *hours* if needed -- I'm sure you could do the same with the trombone... 😉

Edited by IanD
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24 minutes ago, IanD said:

😉

it's really irritating I've been known to go over and ask them nicely to turn it down a bit, and they usually did. If they don't I can always get the melodeon out and sit outside learning a difficult new tune, playing the same section (with bum notes) over and over again, I can do this for *hours* if needed -- I'm sure you could do the same with the trombone... 😉

I've just been asked to play for a ceili next year and been presented with sixty tunes I've never heard of, so my melodeon will be getting a battering after Christmas. The trouble with music on boats is it carries miles over water.

Edited by Arthur Marshall
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21 hours ago, IanD said:

You're missing the point. The rest of CARTs income comes from other sources who don't care either way what happens to the canals. The question here is who should get priority for spending money on the canals, "boaters" (meaning, everyone who wants to keep the canals usable as canals) or "non-boaters" (meaning -- in this case -- everyone else (walkers/cyclists/canoeist/fishermen/gongoozlers) who pays taxes which the DEFRA grant comes out of). It's a question of who gets the benefit of which way the money is spent, and who puts in how much money.

 

Everyone keeps complaining about how CART seem to be prioritising "non-boaters" and issues like wellness, cycling, walking -- mostly to do with the towpath, really -- instead of fixing locks and dredging, which only "boaters" care about.

 

If you want to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a boater or whether the names I'm using are wrong, feel free to come p with your own -- but this is avoiding the fundamental problem seen by many posters on here, which is how to get CART to take more notice of what "boaters" need (working locks, dredging, maintenance) and spend more on this and less on "towpath tarting-up" (blue signs, resurfacing...).

 

The numbers Alan showed is that everyone who is likely to fall into the "complaining about broken locks and paddles and lack of dredging and..." group ("boaters") is paying less than the DEFRA grant, which is funded by the "we want nice towpaths to walk/cycle/fish on" group ("non-boaters" -- or taxpayers). I don't see how else this can be interpreted... 😞

 

If this is correct, probably the only way to get the government (and DEFRA, and CART...) to change their priorities is if "boaters" -- those who want the canals to work properly and be able to move around on them, presumably including most posters on here -- pay more, because money talks.

 

Assuming the government doesn't respond by cutting the DEFRA grant, this would also give CART more money to spend, which -- if they use it "properly" -- has to be a good thing. Doesn't it?

 

Or do people just not want to be told that if they want better-maintained canals they need to pay more money -- is that the real problem?

You are perhaps forgetting that most of the 'towpath tarting up' was not done with CaRT money.

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17 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

You are perhaps forgetting that most of the 'towpath tarting up' was not done with CaRT money.

I think most money has come from Sustrans?

And I think the local councils in some areas have put money in the pot too?
 

Last time I was on the Macc CRT volunteers were doing the work and laying slate chippings. 
 

To add: I see on the Shroppie by Brewood the towpath is getting a major ‘tart up’. Dunno where the money for that’s come from?

Edited by Goliath
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25 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

You are perhaps forgetting that most of the 'towpath tarting up' was not done with CaRT money.

I'm not forgetting that, my point is that CART seem to be giving more mindshare to the "non-boater/taxpayer/DEFRA grant" needs than "boater/cruiser/license fee" needs, which is what lots of people on CWDF and elsewhere are complaining about, and that this is driven by where their funding comes from, and that "real boater" needs get -- or seem to get -- lower priority because they contribute a smaller part of CART funds than the DEFRA grant.

 

Whether this is actually happening is almost impossible to prove, but it's certainly the perceived impression... 😞

Edited by IanD
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16 minutes ago, IanD said:

Whether this is actually happening is almost impossible to prove, but it's certainly the perceived impression... 😞

perhaps “the proof is in the pudding”?

 

meaning, using the canals we see it. 

Edited by Goliath
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10 minutes ago, IanD said:

I'm not forgetting that, my point is that CART seem to be giving more mindshare to the "non-boater/taxpayer/DEFRA grant" needs than "boater/cruiser/license fee" needs, which is what lots of people on CWDF and elsewhere are complaining about, and that this is driven by where their funding comes from, and that "real boater" needs get -- or seem to get -- lower priority because they contribute a smaller part of CART funds than the DEFRA grant.

 

Whether this is actually happening is almost impossible to prove, but it's certainly the perceived impression... 😞

I don't think it's anything to do initially with where the money comes from, I think that's the reverse of the situation - the money, rightly, should reflect the balance of the users.. Some of still think of it as British Waterways - a name in itself implying the waterways were the prime concern. It deliberately isn't for the Trust, which is why any hint of navigation was chopped from the name. Most of the BW prime users were boaters, most of the Trust's aren't, and it's fair enough, then, that the bulk of the funding should come from taxation.

I doubt whether 10% of the Trust's target users are boaters, so why should we pay more?

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I reckon if you could sit Parry down in a pub, and ply him with several pints of Pedigree, it wouldn't be long before he confesses that boaters are a complete pain in the ar** and he dearly wants rid of them to leave his canal network free for the "general" public to enjoy as a nationwide linear park. 

Maintaining the system as a navigable network is, in his eyes, an obstacle to achieving that.

However, without a navigable system, what will this linear park be like? Much of the attraction to Joe Public is the boating activities. Just look at Foxton on a sunny August weekend. It won't be anywhere near attractive with no boats, dried up pounds and disintegrated locks.

Maybe CRT should be subsidising boat owners for providing this service to the public 😉

 

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6 minutes ago, Big Bob W said:

I reckon if you could sit Parry down in a pub, and ply him with several pints of Pedigree, it wouldn't be long before he confesses that boaters are a complete pain in the ar** and he dearly wants rid of them to leave his canal network free for the "general" public to enjoy as a nationwide linear park. 

Maintaining the system as a navigable network is, in his eyes, an obstacle to achieving that.

However, without a navigable system, what will this linear park be like? Much of the attraction to Joe Public is the boating activities. Just look at Foxton on a sunny August weekend. It won't be anywhere near attractive with no boats, dried up pounds and disintegrated locks.

Maybe CRT should be subsidising boat owners for providing this service to the public 😉

 

 

Main reason I first went to Foxton was to see the abandoned inclined plane....🙄🙄

 

 

 

 

but you are right people generally want to see boats.

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1 hour ago, Arthur Marshall said:

I don't think it's anything to do initially with where the money comes from, I think that's the reverse of the situation - the money, rightly, should reflect the balance of the users.. Some of still think of it as British Waterways - a name in itself implying the waterways were the prime concern. It deliberately isn't for the Trust, which is why any hint of navigation was chopped from the name. Most of the BW prime users were boaters, most of the Trust's aren't, and it's fair enough, then, that the bulk of the funding should come from taxation.

I doubt whether 10% of the Trust's target users are boaters, so why should we pay more?

 

It's not the number of users that determine priorities -- after all there are only 35000 boats compared to 32M taxpayers -- but the fraction of CART funding that they contribute, because "he who pays the piper calls the tune" in any business -- which is what CART is, like it or not.

 

Taxpayers (via the DEFRA grant) contribute £52.6M which is about 25% of CART income. Boat licenses and moorings contributed £40.4M total which is 19%, of which boat licenses are £21.3M (10%), mooring permits £8.2M (4%), and "boating trade" £9.8M (4.5%) -- which includes boating licenses and boating property rents. So "boaters" (who may or may not want to move round the system) contribute 14% of CART funding (35000 boaters x £840/boat), taxpayers contribute 25% (32M x £1.60/head -- dirt cheap!) which is 1.8x what boaters pay.

 

So if "boaters" want their interests (a working properly-maintained canal system) to be given equal priority to "everyone else" (blue signs, wellness, health, making canals attractive to Joe Public) then logic suggests that boat licenses and mooring permits should go up by an *average* of 80%, doesn't it?

 

This doesn't sound ridiculous given the not-uncommon view that boaters get an awful lot (like, a place to live and holiday) for not much money compared to anything similar on land. But to stop such a big increase -- presumably phased in over several years -- pricing poorer people off the canal, the licenses/permits would have to be much more strongly graduated than now so that some people (e.g. bigger/wider/more expensive boats) paid a *lot* more than they do today (3x? more?), to cross-subsidise people on smaller/narrower/cheaper boats so their costs stay roughly the same or only go up by a bit.

 

 In other words "the heaviest load falls on the broadest shoulders", just like taxation is *supposed* to do... 😉

 

[there are lots of ways this could be done, some of which were previously run up the flagpole by CART and got shot down by the NBTA and friends -- but let's not get into that argument again, just acknowledge that more graduation is needed *somehow*...]

 

Mind you, more money might help move the Eye of Sauron CART so it shines favourably on boaters instead of Joe Public, but without a strong organisation speaking for boaters interests this on its own doesn't mean anything will change -- and this simply doesn't exist, there are a whole slew of disparate small organisations each representing a small slice of "boaters" and pulling in different directions -- IIRC there were at least 8 last time I did a count... 😞

Edited by IanD
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2 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

And includes the Marinas' NAA (9% of mooring income) payments.

 

Indeed, and that will move the "total boater payment" up slightly. It'll still be a lot lower than the DEFRA grant though -- maybe this drops the "average rise to get equal priority" from 80% to 60% or so. Still a big gap though...

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