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Laurence Hogg

Canal & River Trust Agrees New Contracts To Give Improved Services For Waterway Visitors

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press release


Issued: 1 October 2013



CANAL & RIVER TRUST AGREES NEW CONTRACTS TO GIVE


IMPROVED SERVICES FOR WATERWAY VISITORS



Boaters and other visitors to the waterways will see improvements to key customer services after the Canal & River Trust agreed even better value contracts for vital day-to-day maintenance tasks such as grass cutting, waste collection and cleaning of facilities.



After a competitive tendering process the Trust has agreed improved contracts with existing providers OCS Fountains for its Vegetation & Environmental Services and Biffa for its Waste Management. The contracts, between them worth over £10 million per year, will ensure greater consistency and give savings that can be invested in other important maintenance works.



The contract with OCS Fountains started today and will cover grass cutting, maintenance of hedges and trees, cleaning of facilities and the collection of floating litter from some of the country’s busiest urban waterways.



As well as towpaths, moorings and lock sides the contract will see grass cut on public areas, picnic sites and reservoir embankments up to six times a year - the equivalent of 242 football pitches each time. Contractors will also carry out a regular programme of cleaning at all toilet and facility blocks as well as spending the equivalent of 160 working days per year clearing floating litter from the water.



The contract has been set up to be more efficient, replacing several regional contracts. As a result the Trust will save around £1million per year and visitors can expect to see more consistent standards across the network.



The Biffa contract will, for the first time, see all waste and hazardous material from the Trust’s mooring sites, facilities blocks, offices and operational depots handled by one provider. The contract also started today and will see 58,000m3 of waste removed each year – enough to fill around 6000 large skips.



The contract will enable an increase in the amount of waste that is recycled through the introduction of more recycling bins and increased sorting of waste disposed of in regular bins. From the outset a minimum of 50% of waste disposed of in bins and skips will be diverted from landfill with a target of increasing this to 90% over the course of the contract.



Importantly both contracts include measures for giving customers more detailed information on progress, for example, information on recycling rates at specific busy sites or user-friendly information on vegetation works on the Trust’s website.



The contracts were agreed following a competitive tendering process which saw six contractors bid in detail and interviewed for the work. Both contracts are for an initial five year period with the option of an additional two – longer agreements aimed at encouraging greater capital investment, innovation and improvement in services.



Vince Moran, operations director for the Trust, said; “These contracts will make a real difference to people’s experience of the waterways, particularly boaters. We know that it’s the day-to-day things that really matter to people and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to agree contracts that deliver real improvements whilst freeing up money that can be spent on other important maintenance.


“It was a very competitive bidding process and that’s only been a good thing for everyone that enjoys the waterways and we look forward to working with our partners over the coming years”.



Richard Jowett, environmental services director for OCS Fountains, said: “Fountains has developed a comprehensive understanding of the Trust’s waterways, their users and the important historical, and ecologically significant, assets their staff are entrusted with managing and protecting.



“Our bespoke facilities management and geospatial information system (GIS), built by Fountains specifically for this contract, will provide the Trust’s staff, and waterway users, with an unparalleled visibility of our planned and delivered work programme, in support of providing an excellent and transparent service.



“We are very much looking forward to building on our eight years of experience on the waterways and continuing to engage with the many canal users to enhance their visit.”



Mark Chapman, corporate account manager for Biffa, said; “We’re looking forward to continuing the good work we’ve already started with the Trust and to extending the range of services that we provide. Our national capability and strategic focus on proactively increasing recycling rates within our client-base place us in an ideal position to meet, and surpass, their environmental goals.



“Furthermore, the data that our systems enable us to provide will give the Trust all the information needed to promote their good work to the general public. This can only serve to enhance their environmental performance further through helping to obtain much-needed public buy-in to their recycling and waste reduction activities”.



ENDS




For further media requests please contact:


Stephen Hardy, communications manager, Canal & River Trust


t 01636 675703 m 07920 077190 e [email protected]



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Will Fountains be getting some kit to enable them to do offside work properly (ie boats)?

 

It reads a bit like a letter I got from the Halifax a few weeks ago detailing a reduction in a particular service, which they dressed up as being an 'improvement'.

 

Cynical? Moi?

 

Tim

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Will Fountains be getting some kit to enable them to do offside work properly (ie boats)?

Don't know the detail of the arrangement, but for offside cutting south of Stoke Bruerne when we saw it all the work was being done by Fountains from a wide beam decked boat. The boat certainly used to be BW owned, but I don't know if it still is, or has been sold off and is now independently owned.

 

..................Next they need some signs out so you know they are actually there hiding in the offside forest they are attempting to cut - Cath got a bollocking from them for not spotting them in time to slow down enough, and their unsecured boat set off on its own in our (mild!) wake!

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I thought they'd done this a while back, something to do with the old contractors not cleaning the elsans in London for about a year.

The original Fountains contract replaced over 100 local contracts. Fountains was rescued from administration by OCS late 2011.

 

There is nothing in the board papers that suggest the £1m savings now being claimed.

 

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Don't know the detail of the arrangement, but for offside cutting south of Stoke Bruerne when we saw it all the work was being done by Fountains from a wide beam decked boat. The boat certainly used to be BW owned, but I don't know if it still is, or has been sold off and is now independently owned.

 

..................Next they need some signs out so you know they are actually there hiding in the offside forest they are attempting to cut - Cath got a bollocking from them for not spotting them in time to slow down enough, and their unsecured boat set off on its own in our (mild!) wake!

 

Round here they seem to be reliant on trying to borrow boats from the much-depleted CRT fleet, when they can't manage any other way.

 

They did a lot of offside trimming 18 months ago, using a quad bike on the towpath to pull stuff across. Needless to say some got 'lost' on the way (and the towpath was a mess afterwards) . There's a substantial overhanging oak which was on their list for clearing, but they couldn't do it safely without a boat, and because they couldn't get a boat before they finished the job it's still there.

 

Tim

Edited by Timleech

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Round here they seem to be reliant on trying to borrow boats from the much-depleted CRT fleet, when they can't manage any other way.

 

Tim

From what I have seen on my 750 miles on the Northern waterways this year there are plenty of CRT boats lying unused around the system!

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corporate window dressing. It's the usual management circular, puffin up what they have done.. or not

 

so, it was a competitive tendering process? That is business speak for 'we have cut it down as much as possible, and took a bit more off, to secure the contract. we will balance it later, by cutting the service beyond reasonable'.

 

Expect less maintenance, and more 'performance related bonus payments' for Vince.....

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From what I have seen on my 750 miles on the Northern waterways this year there are plenty of CRT boats lying unused around the system!

Yes, but to some degree that has always been the case, and forty or fifty years ago, I don't think it was wildly different.

 

To some considerable extent much of what actually needs boats on significant numbers also tends to need lengthy stoppages, lock gate replacements being an obvious example).

 

So maintenance boats have always tended to sit about in large numbers, particularly when it is not the winter months, and only be used when the jobs they are needed for can actually be scheduled.

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Saw these coming away from Slapton on the GU yesterday. Giant growbags?

No, if you open one up you'll find they are Red Cross food ration sacks put there for poor beleaguered ccers.

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From what I have seen on my 750 miles on the Northern waterways this year there are plenty of CRT boats lying unused around the system!

There are many more (private) boats lying unused in marinas around the system too. What a waste!

 

 

No, if you open one up you'll find they are Red Cross food ration sacks put there for poor beleaguered ccers.

Steady on now......

Edited by Doorman

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Saw these coming away from Slapton on the GU yesterday. Giant growbag

 

20131001_121736_zps617c68cc.jpg

 

in a word yes.

They are being put in all over the system to increase bankside vegetation to a height of 6 feet in 12 months.

Long stretches are going in on the S&N Oxford, GU and Coventry from recent observations.

The are placed to the canal edge on a support of wires between two rows of stakes. This is then back filled from dredging the canal sludge next to the bank.

 

It would worry me if the extensive dredging promised by CRT included this dredging - it is not main channel , just a narrow section next to the bank

 

20130930_100702_zps3d744eab.jpg

 

If I were Nick Brown, I would be far more concerned with this kind of issue than training boaters in legal matters.

Edited by matty40s

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Yes, but to some degree that has always been the case, and forty or fifty years ago, I don't think it was wildly different.

 

To some considerable extent much of what actually needs boats on significant numbers also tends to need lengthy stoppages, lock gate replacements being an obvious example).

 

So maintenance boats have always tended to sit about in large numbers, particularly when it is not the winter months, and only be used when the jobs they are needed for can actually be scheduled.

I appreciate that Alan but if there is a shortage of boats to clear trees etc surely some of the CRT boats could be used during the periods they are not being used. I freely admit I know nothing of how CRT/the contractor schedule their work programme but it does seem a simple exercise in logistics.

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Growbags along vast stretches of canal, and a plan to introduce voles onto the Rufford suggests restricting mooring opportunities.

Or an attempt to encourage the peaceful co-existence of wildlife and humans.

 

The similar scheme on the Ashby did present some temporary mooring problems (easily overcome with a sickle and plank) but this one appears to be even better thought out.

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This planting is all very well, but I'm torn here. I think most of us love to see the wildlife alongside the canal, and the mooring restrictions are not hugely significant.

But, here's CART planting more vegetation when it can't seem to control that which it already has.

There are places on the K&A where a narrowboat has to force its way through, never mind a widebeam.

Bob

 

ETA and as for the Northampton Arm.....

Edited by lyraboat

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I appreciate that Alan but if there is a shortage of boats to clear trees etc surely some of the CRT boats could be used during the periods they are not being used. I freely admit I know nothing of how CRT/the contractor schedule their work programme but it does seem a simple exercise in logistics.

Yes, I understand the point.

 

Not being fluent in what is involved with trying to cut overgrowing trees from a boat, I really can't say to what extent CRT boats one sees about the place might be suitable, but, for example, clearly push tugs, dredgers and mud-hoppers are unsuitable for use in this kind of activity, as would be anything that is not powered and fairly manoeuvrable.

 

I guess you are down to only the types of boats that have a wide stable platform, which several men can work from safely, and, (if like we saw), space to set up quite a large shredder.

 

What I think we saw was exactly what you describe - a Fountains crew using what may well still be a CRT boat. However that was a stable wide beam boat suitable for the purpose, and I doubt many of the other CRT boats now around this area would be.

 

I don't know what is involved once it is a narrow canal though, I'd imagine trying to establish a safe working platform from a narrow beamed craft might be quite hard, if there is a requirement to have on board what are really quite large shredders.

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I don't know what is involved once it is a narrow canal though, I'd imagine trying to establish a safe working platform from a narrow beamed craft might be quite hard, if there is a requirement to have on board what are really quite large shredders.

 

On the Peak Forest Canal last month, they had what looked like a widebeam platform they'd been working off. A closer look indicated that it 'unfolded' into narrowbeam craft.

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This planting is all very well, but I'm torn here. I think most of us love to see the wildlife alongside the canal, and the mooring restrictions are not hugely significant.

But, here's CART planting more vegetation when it can't seem to control that which it already has.

There are places on the K&A where a narrowboat has to force its way through, never mind a widebeam.

Bob

 

 

Here we are on 'the M6 of the canal network' (according to a CRT press release):-

 

Weed-1_zps67b36a43.jpg

 

Mounds of floating pennywort on the bank, which boaters have dragged out.

It took three of us with two kebs a serious struggle to pull that clump of weed onto the bank, where it will probably sit until it rots away.

 

Tim

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'the M6 of the canal network' (according to a CRT press release):-

 

 

Constant hold-ups due to debris in the carriageway....sounds about right.

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