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gigoguy

Bridgewater permits and licenses

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Just now, Alan de Enfield said:

Surely, in 2013, they knew that BW no longer existed

Would that apply to everything that CaRT inherited then? I've heard of clutching at straws but really not BW so doesn't count? Ha ha ha

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Just now, gigoguy said:

Would that apply to everything that CaRT inherited then? I've heard of clutching at straws but really not BW so doesn't count? Ha ha ha

You know that is not what I suggested.

Just pointing out that if they updated their booklet ( T&Cs ?) in 2013 you would have thought that they would take the opportunity to update the text - Even leaving the purchase price of the book "Fire Precautions in Pleasure Craft at 2 shillings and six pence (2/6)

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

You know that is not what I suggested.

Just pointing out that if they updated their booklet ( T&Cs ?) in 2013 you would have thought that they would take the opportunity to update the text - Even leaving the purchase price of the book "Fire Precautions in Pleasure Craft at 2 shillings and six pence (2/6)

Sorry you've lost me. The book I posted was the original reciprocal agreement. 1968. What you posted is the crap Peel claim is the new reciprocal agreement. Well I always thought an agreement is where 2 or more people agree on something. The only people that agree with the new arrangement are Peel. 'It suits us' Is all they say.

You would have thought Alan. That if they had any concern at all for the canal, their own boaters and anything other than making Mr Whitacker more money than he knows what to do with. They would behave responsibly, professionally and above all LEGALLY. At all times. Wouldn't you?

Edited by gigoguy

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9 hours ago, gigoguy said:

That isn't the reciprocal agreement. This is the reciprocal agreement, that is what Peel changed it to in 2013. It's not an agreement and CaRT, in public at least, don't agree with it.

Bridgewater Canal 1967 page 2.jpg

Interesting historical document. The territorial limits in the version currently on the CRT website are wider than that list, and neither mentions the Rochdale at all (which presumably was still closed when this was published, but isn't now). This document also suggests that the L&L was still tolled. 

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10 hours ago, gigoguy said:

You would have thought Alan. That if they had any concern at all for the canal, their own boaters and anything other than making Mr Whitacker more money than he knows what to do with. They would behave responsibly, professionally and above all LEGALLY. At all times. Wouldn't you?

Not me. The record of refusing pleasure boats use of the canal prior to 1952 [if true] is proof enough of arbitrary flouting of statutory rights.

However - having trawled through most of the legislation thus far, I [at least provisionally] believe that they DO have power to charge what they wish for pleasure boats to enter and exit the canal, even if for reasons other than those they have claimed to rely on. The time periods within which they levy that charge are entirely discretionary on their part, so they are in fact granting concessions they do not need to.

The Transport Act 1962 has relevance only to their freedom to levy the charge at whatever level they wish. The Peel lawyer response to you on this point is either ignorant or malicious; you choose.

I have still found nothing to justify licensing of 'resident' boats at private moorings - but as I have said, it is always the bits you do not know of that can overturn assumptions; I missed the relevant sections relating to charges for entry & exit on first reading, and it was so easily done!

 

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2 hours ago, NigelMoore said:

However - having trawled through most of the legislation thus far, I [at least provisionally] believe that they DO have power to charge what they wish for pleasure boats to enter and exit the canal, even if for reasons other than those they have claimed to rely on. The time periods within which they levy that charge are entirely discretionary on their part, so they are in fact granting concessions they do not need to.

I'm not surprised, annoying though it is.  After all, if there were no concessions involved, and everyone had the right to zoom up and down the Bridgewater as they wanted for free, why should BW have made the 7 day concession to Bridgewater licence holders in the first place.  They must have been convinced there was an advantage for their own boaters too.

I have always assumed the Bridgewater's new regime was a result as to what they saw as CRT boats abusing the privilege and rather than just using it on an occasional basis, treating it as an ordinary part of CRT water and using it often enough so as to make them think that the boat really ought to have a Bridgewater licence, which if someone needs to use it every week, or even every two weeks, is an arguable point. 

Whether or not one can track down the legal basis for licensing boats at private moorings, I would be pretty certain that if this went to court, it would be found to be justified - as Nigel has said above, judges tend to steer the law where they think it ought to go rather than insisting it stays as it was in the year dot.

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19 hours ago, erivers said:

That is inconsistent then with the Grand Junction Canal Act 1793 which has previously been quoted to compare wording. 

The GJC Act at S.74 does specifically authorise free use of pleasure boats and remove any possible ambiguity by the addition of the phrase "of pleasure or otherwise" to wording which is otherwise very similar to S.29 of the 1759 Bridgewater Act.  But at Section 99 of the GJC Act is a specific authorisation for riparian owners to use pleasure boats free of charge (broadly similar to the section in the Bridgewater Act of 1766 to which Nigel has previously referred).

 

It might be seen as inconsistent, but not necessarily. I have to say that on first reading of the 1759 Act, my immediate interpretation was as you say, but reflection persuaded me that it was too tenuous an argument to convince a court [and the tenet of construction of private Acts is honoured more in the breach than in the application - or even ignored altogether as happened in Leigh's case].

There is a slight difference between s.74 and s.99 of the GJCC Act; the first includes pleasure boats amongst all vessels free to use the navigation subject only to whatever tolls might be imposable; the second specifically grants riparian owner/occupiers freedom from tolls if water is not used when passing through a lock – whereas ordinary pleasure boats using locks would probably have to pay whether they used water or not, at the same rate riparian boats would have to pay if they did use water.

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Thanks Nigel, for the comprehensive evaluation of the leglislative situation. Given the clarity you've revealed on this, I feel its now up to the OP to clarify their position publically (their last relevant post mentioned they had new information, but privately - this needs clarifying publically so it can be properly scrutinised etc otherwise it is worthless).

Regarding any reciprocal agreement, surely it works like this: one side makes concessions to allow the other side extra privelages; and the other side does the same. Its simply an agreement, its not legally binding (however it could be used as a defence against a trespass in this case - if you followed a widely-publicised reciprocal agreement then you could have legitimately believed an implied permission was gained) and can be altered by either side at any time. If Bridgewater Canal Company alters their side of the agreement, its up to CRT to reciprocate and alter theirs (ie similarly impose further restrictions on Bridgewater licence holders to allow them lesser use of CRT waters) or to decide to allow their original side of the agreement to remain as-is. They have no say on what the other side concedes, save for the tactic of similarly restricting the other side's boaters.

A further point regarding the reciprocal agreement: there is no expectation/obligation that there is one at all. For example, the navigable River Avon (Warwickshire) connects and links two CRT waters (Stratford-upon-Avon canal and River Severn) yet any boater who uses it, even for a day or a part-day to moor on it, is expected to pay the relevant fee.

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The situation regarding detention of boats needs to appreciated also; it is far worse than with CaRT!

Boats and any goods may be detained for any sums owing under the Acts – whether for fees, passage toll, moorings, etc. The boats are already on the company’s property, so any debt creates an automatic lien such that they can prevent the boat being removed from the canal, even if they do not seize it under s.9.

In the event that a boat owing sums ‘escapes’ the canal, the company can detain anything else of yours that you left behind on their premises – another boat for example, whether that had paid charges or not – and sell it to recover the debt [giving you the remainder of course].

The company is even empowered under the 1894 Act to act as bailiffs, and to visit whatever premises you may have out of their jurisdiction [should you have escaped that], to take control of goods.

Naturally, The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act will now control how they may go about recovering their sums respecting a detained boat, while the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act will now govern the exercise of their bailiff powers for boats that have left.

The remaining alternative for them of course, is to sue for the debt in court as normal.

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2 hours ago, Paul C said:

Regarding any reciprocal agreement, surely it works like this: one side makes concessions to allow the other side extra privelages; and the other side does the same. Its simply an agreement, its not legally binding (however it could be used as a defence against a trespass in this case - if you followed a widely-publicised reciprocal agreement then you could have legitimately believed an implied permission was gained) and can be altered by either side at any time.

I seriously doubt anybody [certainly not those reading this forum or CWDF] could plead ignorance in a situation where the reciprocal agreement is widely-publicised as having broken down, with calls for protest from NABO etc.

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Indeed. I was thinking back to when the reciprocal agreement - or the Bridgewater side of it - was altered, to prohibit a return within 28 days without additional £40 payment. In that interim period, many may have claimed they never knew about the non-return in 28 days, especially if signage was inadequate. However now that gigoguy has started this and many other threads, it would be difficult for anyone who is involved in this or other threads to claim ignorance.

A case where the proverb "all publicity is good publicity" doesn't quite ring true.

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2 minutes ago, Paul C said:

A case where the proverb "all publicity is good publicity" doesn't quite ring true.

I don't quite see it it that way. All the OP has sought according to his postings, has been clarification of what the legal position truly is, and has objected fiercely to the public relying on mere say-so from the authority. Admittedly, in the absence of clear direction from their legal department, he has been somewhat precipitate and disproportionate in his visceral response to their obfuscation, but it takes people with passion for justice and with conviction to force things into the open - and whether the result is what one might have desired or not, it is desirable to achieve a result.

Nearly 2 and a half centuries of applicable legislation containing several different private company Acts as well as relevant public Acts to sort through, and their own lawyers cannot come up with a straightforward answer to a simple yet cogent question as to why they do what they do? It brings to mind the comment by Hildyard J regarding the 'morass' of BW legislation - it cannot be right that the public should have to rely on BW's say-so as to what they are entitled to do. Same applies here.

  • Greenie 4

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I must post the comment that gigoguy is to be congratulated on provoking an interesting debate and provoking research that would otherwise never have been undertaken. It is always wrong, as Hildyard J commented in my own case, that the public should have to wade through a 'morass' of legislation to determine their rights, where even the company's legal department are unable to come up with straight and accurate answers, such that the public is forced to rely on the authority's "say so".

It says little for the quality and/or probity of Peel's legal department that they either could not or would not give a straight answer to a straight question. It could have been true or false, but certainly the true grounds for the charge are not where they claimed it to be.

  • Greenie 1

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Thank you for your efforts Mr Moore.

Thank you also  gigoguy.

I mentioned on another forum, gigoguy's passion, drive and enthusiasm to pursue the matter should be applauded. Whether the courts would support these conclusions or not, is surely secondary to the efforts that have been put in by these dedicated challengers.

Well done.

Rog

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4 hours ago, NigelMoore said:

The situation regarding detention of boats needs to appreciated also; it is far worse than with CaRT!

Boats and any goods may be detained for any sums owing under the Acts – whether for fees, passage toll, moorings, etc. The boats are already on the company’s property, so any debt creates an automatic lien such that they can prevent the boat being removed from the canal, even if they do not seize it under s.9.

In the event that a boat owing sums ‘escapes’ the canal, the company can detain anything else of yours that you left behind on their premises – another boat for example, whether that had paid charges or not – and sell it to recover the debt [giving you the remainder of course].

The company is even empowered under the 1894 Act to act as bailiffs, and to visit whatever premises you may have out of their jurisdiction [should you have escaped that], to take control of goods.

Naturally, The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act will now control how they may go about recovering their sums respecting a detained boat, while the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act will now govern the exercise of their bailiff powers for boats that have left.

The remaining alternative for them of course, is to sue for the debt in court as normal.

But under this power they can only demand what they are owed, is that right. So if the toll is £20 they can only demand £20. So impounding a boat for £20 is extremely unreasonable and I would expect highly unlikely? You also say they can prevent a boat leaving the canal, how can they do that. Do they actually have the authority to intercept and seize a boat in motion.

You did say that charging for transit in the special section might be limited to cargo boats. Does that mean they might still not be able to or do other Acts clarify the charge?

I have to say a special thank you to Nigel, erivers and Tony for their hard work and anyone else that has contributed to this. As Nigel and a couple of others have said it is not the result I expected or hoped for. Having said that. I asked Peel Holdings 15 times for them to send me their legal authority to charge and all I got were threats. And some nonsense about Transport Act 1962. I don’t believe they had any idea what gave them permission. I think arrogance and ignorance is what they think gives them permission to do anything they like.

If they hope to get anything that even vaguely resembles and apology, then they know where to look for it. As Nigel has quoted much more aptly than I ever could. NO I shouldn’t have had to start god knows how many threads and scream nearly so loudly to get an answer to a simple question. And I STILL HAVEN’T had it from them. So until they send it to me officially at least I still don’t know.

Nigel has raised an interesting point regarding peel’s authority to charge a license for pleasure craft to moor along the canal on private moorings. That will be of particular interest to boaters that do moor and have paid a license for many years. I did say I would expect them to pay regardless of it being an obligation. And I think they probably will.

I am away for a few days now but I will catch up on Thursday.

Thank you to everyone on all sides for your interest and input. And thank you for the words of support. I'm only sorry I couldn't save you all 40 quid a trip!

 

 

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1 minute ago, gigoguy said:

But under this power they can only demand what they are owed, is that right. So if the toll is £20 they can only demand £20. So impounding a boat for £20 is extremely unreasonable and I would expect highly unlikely? You also say they can prevent a boat leaving the canal, how can they do that. Do they actually have the authority to intercept and seize a boat in motion.

You did say that charging for transit in the special section might be limited to cargo boats. Does that mean they might still not be able to or do other Acts clarify the charge?

I have to say a special thank you to Nigel, erivers and Tony for their hard work and anyone else that has contributed to this. As Nigel and a couple of others have said it is not the result I expected or hoped for. Having said that. I asked Peel Holdings 15 times for them to send me their legal authority to charge and all I got were threats. And some nonsense about Transport Act 1962. I don’t believe they had any idea what gave them permission. I think arrogance and ignorance is what they think gives them permission to do anything they like.

If they hope to get anything that even vaguely resembles and apology, then they know where to look for it. As Nigel has quoted much more aptly than I ever could. NO I shouldn’t have had to start god knows how many threads and scream nearly so loudly to get an answer to a simple question. And I STILL HAVEN’T had it from them. So until they send it to me officially at least I still don’t know.

Nigel has raised an interesting point regarding peel’s authority to charge a license for pleasure craft to moor along the canal on private moorings. That will be of particular interest to boaters that do moor and have paid a license for many years. I did say I would expect them to pay regardless of it being an obligation. And I think they probably will.

I am away for a few days now but I will catch up on Thursday.

Thank you to everyone on all sides for your interest and input. And thank you for the words of support. I'm only sorry I couldn't save you all 40 quid a trip!

 

 

I must say I have found most of this thread very interesting, I don't think I would be prepared to sit and put 2 fingers up to them regardless of how wrong I believed they were as they have much more money to throw at it than I have if hey want to and being wrong doesnt always mean you lose.

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I commend anyone who is keen to clarify the details regarding what has been a somewhat grey area previously - of the legislative framework surrounding The Bridgewater Canal - and its use by boaters today. However there were serious errors of comprehension along the way, and a lot of emotive attacks on others. Its true to say that the relevance of how often Barton swing aqueduct is swung is a non-issue, it clearly illustrated that the OP was unable to accurately consolidate the quality and quantity of given information/facts to a correct conclusion. And without seeing the correspondence with the Bridgewater Canal Company in its entirety, I would be cautious of directing the lack of clarity on the points raised solely to an inadequacy on the company's part. 

However, putting that to one side, it does evolve into a worthy (of discussion) postscript:

- Why did the Bridgewater Canal Company change their side of the reciprocal agreement?
- Why didn't CRT successfully counter this?

I suspect the answer lies not in the (somewhat paranoid view that the) Bridgewater Canal Company have profit as an overriding motive, but that they see a perceived problem which the new rules have attempted to counter. Without knowing their motivations, or decent accurate data on such stats as number of boats on/off the Bridgewater, we can only guess at these.

There still exists, whatever rules are set up, the intractable problem of enforcing said rules. As has been pointed out, unlike other waterways there is no one structure such as a lock which could be, errr locked (ie padlocked, or restricted to certain hours with payment/permission checked etc etc) so the cost of enforcement of any regime is likely to far outweigh any tangible increase in profits for the company. This is probably the underlying reason why there IS a reciprocal agreement where other waterways have none - that pragmatically, its a reasonable solution.

And there's also (on other threads it has a mention too) questions to be asked regarding the nature of the enforcement, ie threats made etc etc. However I feel the opportunity to share experiences and gain much support to tackle/counter these has been lost due to the approach made by the OP on this (and other) threads. 

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2 hours ago, gigoguy said:

But under this power they can only demand what they are owed, is that right. So if the toll is £20 they can only demand £20. So impounding a boat for £20 is extremely unreasonable and I would expect highly unlikely? You also say they can prevent a boat leaving the canal, how can they do that. Do they actually have the authority to intercept and seize a boat in motion.

You did say that charging for transit in the special section might be limited to cargo boats. Does that mean they might still not be able to or do other Acts clarify the charge?

Of course, yes, they can only demand what they are owed. As to the reasonableness of impounding a boat for £20 or whatever, while most people would consider that disproportionate, you have to bear in mind the mind-set of the High Court in the Ravenscroft case. The judge there considered that seizing a £30,000 boat at a cost in excess of £5,000 for a disputed £1600 debt was perfectly proportionate – is there so much difference?

They do not have to actually 'seize' a boat; they are entitled to prevent it leaving their premises if it owes them money. I am not entering into the practical logistics of that. In practice, as they have actually said to you, they are unlikely to bother with trivial sums owing - but that is not something anybody should rely upon.

Yes, originally I thought that entry and exit charges were limited to cargo boats; I was correct so far as the original wording of the 1894 Act was concerned – but the problem has been that these private Acts have not been published online by legislation.gov which always publishes the current state of the legislation with later amendments allowed for.

As published, in the original form, the 1894 Act re: Bridgewater Rates does not extend to pleasure boats; however nearly 70 years later an obscure little clause in the 1960 Act retrospectively added an extra definition of ‘vessel’ to the relevant section, that embraced pleasure boats [and any sort of boat whatsoever] to the section allowing charges for entry and exit to and from the Bridgewater.

As I had said earlier - it is always the hidden little bits you are unaware of that trip you up. When you are dealing with literally centuries of historical legislation, keeping track of the current state of affairs can be difficult. Thanks to mayalld for the Companies House link that proved invaluable as a source for the relevant Acts [even if even that was not a comprehensive collection].

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Sort of a p.s. to my last post: the Companies House list of linked Acts was excellent; legislation.gov has the more modern Acts & Orders; erivers provided others that were not included in either source; I dug up the 1870 "Rules" and the 1961 Byelaws from Kew Archives, and gigoguy copied a couple of the original Bridgewater Acts himself, from the appropriate archive. Still some missing.

I see that I omitted the 1961 byelaws from my listed Acts & Orders etc - there is nothing relevant in those either, for all that Peel apparently claimed them as the source of their powers to charge, before coming up with the Transport Act 1962.

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On ‎14‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 21:01, gigoguy said:

I hope it costs them an absolute fortune in the end. And I hope they do lose the canal. There will be third way or charitable trusts extremely interested. And as for myalld's question where will the money come from.

I know he's not that naive. For a project like that the money would come don't you worry. 

The worrying thing is that I think that you actually believe what you write.

You actually believe that if you try to prove that Peel cannot charge, some charitable trust will take over, and that funders will be falling over themselves to pour cash into the Bridgewater Canal to enable all and sundry to use it without charge.

Just as happened when BW canals went to a charity, and we all got free licences on the former BW canals.

  • Greenie 1

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As a counterpoint to what I have said respecting the expansion of the definition of boats subject to entry and exit tolls, I offer this little curiosity -

1894 Order

Special Sections Applicable only to the Bridgewater Canals Undertaking of the Manchester Ship Canal Company

(i)            Where merchandise is conveyed by a bye-trader in a boat which passes through one or more locks on the canal, the Company may charge a minimum toll of five shillings.

For an empty boat which passes through one or more locks on the canal, or which passes on to or from the canal from or on to the canal of any other Company, the Company may charge the sum of five shillings . . .”

“If two or more narrowboats (whether carrying cargo or empty) capable of passing through a lock alongside one another, pass through a lock at the same time, they shall be reckoned, for the purposes of this section, as one boat.”

1960 Act

            s.6 “In the schedule to the Order of 1894 the special sections applicable only to the Bridgewater undertaking shall have effect as if –

            ( b ) the following definition was added at the end of paragraph (vi) of those sections:- “the term ‘vessel’ includes any vessel ship lighter keel barge boat raft pontoon and craft of any kind howsoever navigated propelled or moved”.”

That the ‘special section’ was to be distinct from the ‘general section’ in respect of relevant craft is evidenced by that addition, because the general section had already defined “boat” as including “all vessels, barges, keels, sloops, steam vessels, compartment boats, and other craft of every description, however propelled or moved, using the canal”, although expressly excluding pleasure boats.

BUT – whether through carelessness or some other reason, whereas in the general section the word “boat” is used throughout, and the definition of “boat” applies [with the exclusion of pleasure boats] and that includes “vessels”, in the amended special section [which also uses the term “boat” throughout, and the context refers solely to cargo carrying boats] “boat” is not defined, “vessel” is [without the pleasure boat exemption] – and yet the word “vessel” appears nowhere in that section, so the added definition could be read as utterly without meaning, having no application to any wording in the special section!

So although I would not myself wish to hinge an argument based on this disparity, I can see where a professional tasked with the job of proving that pleasure boats were excluded from the provisions of the special section as with the general section, could see a loophole in the obviously intended import of the 1960 addition, and argue for the application of the ambiguity rule against the Company, in favour of the public!

From my experience they would have a fat chance of succeeding, but at least it is a plausible argument.

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Another little "twiddle" to add to the mix.

The pleasure craft exemption that exists is predicated upon the craft not passing through any lock.

Of little import you may say, because unless a boat comes from the upper reaches of the Irwell, through Pomona Lock, it won't pass through a lock.

However, legally speaking, Lock 94 at the foot of the "Rochdale 9" is part of the Bridgewater Canal (that is why it is known as "Dukes Lock", because it was owned by the Duke.

Hence, any vessel entering from the Rochdale cannot claim that exemption.

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1 hour ago, NigelMoore said:

For an empty boat which passes through one or more locks on the canal, or which passes on to or from the canal from or on to the canal of any other Company, the Company may charge the sum of five shillings . . .”

Would this not override the  'passing through a lock' requirement if they are entering from C&RT waters ?

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3 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Would this not override the  'passing through a lock' requirement if they are entering from C&RT waters ?

Yes. But I think Mayalld was referring to the exemption that applies still [so far as we know] to boats already on the Bridgewater. But they were liable to charges if using locks anyway.

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