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Ray T

Notes of CRT Press Briefing at Hatton Offices 26th January 2018

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Notes of CRT Press Briefing at Hatton Offices 26th January 2018

 Business Update  

The Trust has completed a successful ‘private placement’ bond issue and has secured £150m of borrowing at very competitive rates to enable it to expand its successful property investment activity and generate more annual income to spend on caring for the waterways.  This is expected to generate an additional £2m-£3m per annum of net income for the Trust.

 The 2016-17 Protectors Report is now on the Trust’s website following acceptance by the Secretary of State. The management of The Trust’s investment portfolio is reviewed and endorsed by independent investment experts.

 The first Peoples Post Code lottery  with CRT as a direct beneficiary was drawn in December 2018 with £1.7m realised for the Trust.

 Trust Restructure

 The proposal is to reduce the ten waterways to six larger regions, this will move more of the national teams directly into new regional teams giving clearer accountability and enabling local focus and decision making.

 The National responsibility for investment, asset management and strategy will remain as is. The restructure will also allow better alignment, focus and simplification. To secure a sustainable future the Trust will seek to “do more and cost less.”

 The 60 day senior management consultation began in December and there will be an update by the end of March.

 Update on EA navigations

 Defra has indicated that “it is not minded to proceed with the transfer of the Environment Agency river navigations.”

 CRT however remain convinced that the transfer would be in the wider public interest and deliver value and benefits for users and the long term future of the navigations.

 CRT will continue to cooperate actively with the EA in the running of their respective navigations to ensure the best possible experience for all river and canal users.

 Winter Works / Open Days

 The first phase of winter works is progressing well, being delivered to plan. The open days at Manchester  and Derwent Mouth went well.

 

Location

Open Day Dates

Johnson’s Hillock, Leeds & Liverpool Canal

28th January

Lock 31, Meaford Bottom Lock, Trent & Mersey Canal

3rd  & 4th  February

Lock 1, Aire & Calder Navigation

3rd & 4th  February

Foxton Locks (8-16) repairs, GU Leicester Line

10th & 11th February

Grindley Brook Llangollen Canal

3rd & 4th March

Lock 3, Parkhead Bottom Lock, Dudley Canal

4th March

Lock 18 Seend Lock, Kennet & Avon Canal

10th March

Boating Update, Licensing Consultation

 Over 11,000 responses have been received of which circa 6,500 answered most questions. The Trust wishes to thank boaters for this fantastic response.

 The results were presented to the Board on the 25th January, with further development or the Trust’s response being worked on over over the next few weeks.

 London Mooring strategy

 Over 1,200 responses have been received with over 3,000 specific commitments. The Summary of the consultation and the Trust’[s response is due to be published by the end of February.

 Winter Moorings

 

 

Total Permits sold

Total Income

Total months booked

Total length sold

Total sites where permits purchased

2017

643

£277,074

2,134

9,714m

113 out of 138

2016

679

£277,190

2,115

10,211m

110

2015

454

£182,999

1,313

6,772m

120

 

Monitoring Continuous Cruising – review process

 In the first two years of the scheme just over 1,000 restricted licences were issued each year. In 2017 this number has reduced by a fifth, to just over 800 renewals.

 The monthly number of open cases is currently less than the period 2016-2017. The number of mid-point reminders is also down. There has also been an increased number of extended stays granted.

 Boat Owner’s Views Survey

 The final third of boaters in the three year cycle are to be sent a link to the 2017 survey on the 26th February by email and post, with a deadline for responses of the 31st March.

 Water Resource Update

 Update from the Environment Agency (5 Jan):

“Despite the recent wet weather at the end of December, we had a dry end to the autumn with rainfall much lower than average in the south east of England. Last winter saw low rainfall in the south east which means that groundwater and some reservoirs are below normal levels.

"Above-average rainfall is now needed in parts of this region over the winter months to replenish groundwater supplies for 2018.

“The Environment Agency is actively working with water companies, business and farmers to balance the needs of water users and our teams are ready to respond to potential impacts of dry weather on people, the environment and wildlife. Water companies will be advising their customers to use water wisely and considering action to preserve and enhance water supplies.”

Also see EA blog post from early December before rainfall: https://environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/13/winter-rain-needed-in-the-south-east/

 Outlook for 2018 Season

 Positive position for Oxford Canal, GU Canal through the midlands –Leicester line re-opened

Some concerns remain with GU Tring Summit but improving steadily week by week (groundwater has started to show recharge)

BCN some concerns (but not purely due to rainfall, engineering works and other constraints are a factor)

K&A –too early to say if groundwater level recover is sustained yet, so still a risk of issues

Rest of network –risk is considered to be within “normal” range for this time of year

 Business Boating Automation

Went live w/c 22 January

Renewals will cover licences from 1 March

User tested by boating businesses

Those who have paid by DD will fall into the auto-renewal process and others can add themselves

Auto-renew can be cancelled

Online customers will be able to:

Renew their licences

Amend their details

Apply for refunds

Assign trade plates to the relevant boats

Only need to update their insurance once not for each boat

 Crick 2018

 This year the size of the Trust’s marquee is to be increased in size by a fifth.

There will be a celebration of Regent’s 200 ahead of its culmination in 2020.

 Actor Andrew Ashmore will be there in the guise of John Nash to entertain and educate. In 2016 he was “James Brindley.”

 There will be a display of water management in the marquee for the first time. Additional space will be allocated to “heritage apprentices”, a hands on opportunity to have a go at bricklaying and other activities.

 Also teams from angling, boating museums and the environment will be available to answer questions. The fundraising and local waterway teams will be in the Trust’s marquee.

 

I personally will not enter into any questions regarding these notes. Any queries please refer them to the Canal & River Trust. Thank you.

Edited by Ray T

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Maybe the non-believers will now accept that C&RT have borrowed the £150 million.

 

"is it true? I'll withhold judgement until I see the story in one of the real publications like TT or CB".

"Like you, I'd like to see more detail before rushing to ill-advised judgement. Clearly, borrowing to fill a sustained current funding hole is just daft".

 

 

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It appears it hasn't been borrowed to directly plug a gap in funding. More that it has been borrowed in order to invest and gain a return that would be additional income; which of course may end up plugging shortfalls in future. It's entirely possible that reduced income forecasts are the catalyst for this action but it is a legitimate means of raising additional funds. Nonetheless there is a risk involved and it is arguably not the core business of CRT. It's what comes with the territory of how they have been set up.

JP

  • Greenie 1

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16 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

It appears it hasn't been borrowed to directly plug a gap in funding. More that it has been borrowed in order to invest and gain a return that would be additional income; which of course may end up plugging shortfalls in future. It's entirely possible that reduced income forecasts are the catalyst for this action but it is a legitimate means of raising additional funds. Nonetheless there is a risk involved and it is arguably not the core business of CRT. It's what comes with the territory of how they have been set up.

JP

BW/C&RT have had a funding gap for over 10 years. Hopefully, the £2-£3 million a year will be realised and go a little way to plugging it.

The two financial advantages of becoming a charity were always given as the ability to develop a charitable income stream (mainly from individual donors) and freedom from government restrictions on borrowing. 

53 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Maybe the non-believers will now accept that C&RT have borrowed the £150 million.

 

"is it true? I'll withhold judgement until I see the story in one of the real publications like TT or CB".

"Like you, I'd like to see more detail before rushing to ill-advised judgement. Clearly, borrowing to fill a sustained current funding hole is just daft".

 

 

No doubt they wont believe the £50 million borrowed via the RCF or the £13 million POLP loan either -


C&RT to borrow £150m via bonds

 

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6 minutes ago, Allan(nb Albert) said:

BW/C&RT have had a funding gap for over 10 years. Hopefully, the £2-£3 million a year will be realised and go a little way to plugging it.

The two financial advantages of becoming a charity were always given as the ability to develop a charitable income stream (mainly from individual donors) and freedom from government restrictions on borrowing. 

No doubt they wont believe the £50 million borrowed via the RCF or the £13 million POLP loan either -


C&RT to borrow £150m via bonds

 

At the time CRT was set up any borrowing of theirs would have been classified as private and not included in Government borrowing statistics. Clarification of EU law since then would now require CRT borrowing to be classified as Government borrowing since the state owns the assets. That rather dampens the idea that CRT can enjoy freedom from Government borrowing. However would that same restriction still apply to the non-operational property portfolio?

JP

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