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Ivyblack
10-07-10, 08:10
I have heard that DEFRA are consulting EA stakeholders? about the EA navigations becoming a charity/trust with BW. It is supposed to happening in July sometime. Has anyone else heard this? Here is a link.
http://www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/campaign_news/waterways_political_update



Seems that the IWA are completely behind it, I assume because they know that licence money from the Thames will be used to pay for the upkeep of BW ditches around the UK.
http://www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/campaign_news/minister_signals_possible_bw_ea_merger

Who are Thames stakeholders? Assume it it the River User Groups??

Ivyblack

byron
10-07-10, 08:53
Our resident investigators will now be on the case :)

boatone
10-07-10, 09:27
As navigation is such a small part of the EA empire I think much will depend on the flood control risk side of things where the rivers are clearly a very different kettle of fish to the canals.

BW has a huge number of registered boats compared to the non tidal Thames - around 40,000 compared to 8,000 i think. That certainly makes them a serious threat as far as managing a licence regime and revenue collection is concerned.

On the other hand, the infrastructure of the river - locks , weirs, flood management etc is a very different set of disciplines and necessary for a far wider range of risk management than leisure navigation.

I suspect, as is more and more the case these days, we will have little say in these decisions. At the moment we have nothing more than conjecture to consider and it is only when the opportunity for input and reaction to specific proposals arises that we will be able to consider our views.

Ivyblack
11-07-10, 19:00
That's fine, but will the outcome of July's "consultation" be the final decision? Don't suppose they'll be any referendum on the issue?

I guess I am just concerned about the standard of service (which isn't perfect, don't get me wrong) taking a dive as a result our money not being spent or "ringfenced" for the the same river.:mad:

We still don't even know who has been invited to the consultation??

IB

Loddon
11-07-10, 19:42
I have heard that DEFRA are consulting EA stakeholders? about the EA navigations becoming a charity/trust with BW. It is supposed to happening in July sometime. Has anyone else heard this? Here is a link.
http://www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/campaign_news/waterways_political_update



Seems that the IWA are completely behind it, I assume because they know that licence money from the Thames will be used to pay for the upkeep of BW ditches around the UK.
http://www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/campaign_news/minister_signals_possible_bw_ea_merger

Who are Thames stakeholders? Assume it it the River User Groups??

Ivyblack

I will be one of those attending next week on behalf of the DBA
I know the new authority may well not be popular in some places, but think of it another way:


A NEW body not BW or EA charged with managing the navigation seems like it could be a good idea in this era of severe cutbacks. Dont kid yourselves that navigation wont get cut just because its only 1% of defra spending.
Navigation and flood control could well be separated as they are on many other rivers with one body taking on navigation and the EA doing flood control.

BW has a large property portfolio that could well provide much funding for waterways.

As for ringfencing don't make me laugh didn't you all agree to a licence increase for the Thames a couple of years ago to enlarge locks, where did that money go? At least with an independent third sector body your money wouldn't have been taken by the treasury.......

Might post some news after the meeting in a week or so......

Ivyblack
12-07-10, 19:48
quote: "BW has a large property portfolio that could well provide much funding for waterways."

Surely, BW's property portfolio is being exploited as much as possible by BW already??

Anyone got any comments on how well National Trust navigations work? River Wey?
I assume that this is this the management regime the government is proposing?
IB

Loddon
12-07-10, 20:03
BW are not allowed to use the property for mainatainance so as yet its full potential is untapped.
There has been nothing released as yet on the new plan, there is plenty about taking BW into the 3rd sector but not how it will work with EA as a new venture. This will be released at the meeting I believe.

TrueBlue
12-07-10, 20:24
Being a long term cynic, I think the devil will be in the detail.

EA in the Thames region is "special" as the locks are all manned, with only part of the lock keepers duties being allocated to help boaters. To my mind their duties would be difficult to split out as the weir keeping responsibilities cannot realistically be split from being on site.

Perhaps many, many years hence the weirs could be automated - but I can't see that happening in my or anyone else's lifetime. It's not just a matter of lifting up a gate when told to. I don't think the Management really understand that point. Anyway why ruin one of this Island Realm's principal potential tourist attractions?

However, there is scope for attracting a number of mugs - umm - volunteers to carry out some of the less critical tasks; bank clearance, tree felling and so on.

Hmmmm

oldgit
12-07-10, 21:24
Perhaps many, many years hence the weirs could be automated

Just out of interest are thier any other rivers in the UK other than the Thames where the weirs are not fully automated ?

Ivyblack
13-07-10, 10:03
Still confused by the fact that BW are not allowed to use income from their property to pay for maintenance.
Where does the income from their commercial property go then? Back to the Treasury? Surely not, as it would be a waste of time for the treasury/Defra to then pay BW back their annual grant? I can't imagine the treasury/Defra would allow BW to store money either.

Oldgit, your question ref the weirs. I think the weirs on the Wey are operated manually by the Trust - hence my question on how well this works?

IB

boatone
13-07-10, 10:12
Where does the income from their commercial property go then? Back to the Treasury? Surely not, as it would be a waste of time for the treasury/Defra to then pay BW back their annual grant? I can't imagine the treasury/Defra would allow BW to store money either.

Understanding the various machinations of financial jiggery pokery that take place within and around government departments is probably way beyond our (or anyone elses) ken :D

I seem to remember that local authorities that sold houses off were not allowed to spend the money they raised but had to sit on it ?

The issue that seems to me to be the most contentious will be how they would intend to split weir keeping and locking duties and under which jurisdiction. Unlike the canal system, the rivers have major implications for flood control/risk and I cant immediately see any sense in combining a serious infrastructure responsibility with what is otherwise predominantly a leisure facility.

boatone
13-07-10, 10:18
Anyone got any comments on how well National Trust navigations work? River Wey?
I assume that this is this the management regime the government is proposing?
IB

Not sure i really understand the question.

I boated on the River Wey for several years and found the management pretty good. Seemed to me it was run just like any other National Trust property with significant income from moorings on top of visitor income at the Dapdune Wharf project from where it is managed.
There are np lock- keepers (all locks self wind) except for the point of entry from the Thames at Weybridge. Annual and visitors licences operate similarly to the Thames.

What we clearly dont know at present is just which part(s) of the EA Rivers operation are being considered for inclusion in any new super amalgamation.

Loddon
13-07-10, 10:23
AFAIK BW have to reinvest or use it for capital projects so no maintenance.

Another non automated river is the Nene they even have to tie back the doors (gates) there when its in flood.
Is the Medway Automatic?

Also the Trent, Seven and Soar but I believe that all of these have fixed weirs.

There is no magical tie between lock keepers and weirs, several places in the Anglian region one authority owns the navigation, the weir/lock keeper is employed by EA and the navigation authority then pay for his services.

Loddon
13-07-10, 10:27
What we clearly dont know at present is just which part(s) of the EA Rivers operation are being considered for inclusion in any new super amalgamation.

Only the Navigation parts from what I have seen, flood control will stay with EA.

boatone
13-07-10, 11:15
Only the Navigation parts from what I have seen, flood control will stay with EA.

So - perhaps licensing and registration, leisure promotion activities etc go to the new 'authority', whilst river upkeep, locks and weirs engineering, etc stay with the EA and they receive a financial contribution from the new authority towards any work which, whilst essential for flood control, may benefit the leisure sector?

Now, if this all comes about, who do you think the key people in the 'NEW' authority are likely to be - ex BW or ex EA - and what might be the medium to long term implications for boats with deeper drafts than narrow boats? :D

Loddon
13-07-10, 12:10
As for who the new managemant might be no one knows as yet (well not the public).
Dredging is something that is high on my personal agenda I do it all the time with the bottom of my barge even on the Thames.

boatone
13-07-10, 15:13
As for who the new managemant might be no one knows as yet (well not the public).
Dredging is something that is high on my personal agenda I do it all the time with the bottom of my barge even on the Thames.
My question was very much tongue in cheek - we will wait and see.

As for dredging, I fear we will be out of luck except for routine depth control in key spots such as lock cuts and prime fairway. Dredging is expensive, needs consent to dredge, needs somewhere to transport to and deposit the dredge.

So, if its deep enough for 40,000 narrow boats what's the chance of action to assist the deeper draft percentage of a mere 8,000 cruisers?

TrueBlue
13-07-10, 17:45
So, if its deep enough for 40,000 narrow boats what's the chance of action to assist the deeper draft percentage of a mere 8,000 cruisers?

Much as I want more visitors and users on the River, the thought of 40,000 LTTTs descending (or even ascending) on "our" patch of water makes me feel very ill.

600 in bulk in late August will be sufficient challenge for the time being - thank you very much. I will ask the organisers if they could cause some turbulence when they leave Beale Park; that might dredge that length a bit? ;)

boatone
13-07-10, 18:24
Much as I want more visitors and users on the River, the thought of 40,000 LTTTs descending (or even ascending) on "our" patch of water makes me feel very ill.

600 in bulk in late August will be sufficient challenge for the time being - thank you very much. I will ask the organisers if they could cause some turbulence when they leave Beale Park; that might dredge that length a bit? ;)

You and me, both, Mike ! In fact, my stats were a bit wrong. Just been looking at the BW Annual Report and Accounts for 2009/10 and there are a little over 35,000 individual boat licences issued with an average take of around £460 each plus another few hundred in Scotland.
The introduction to the report sheds some light on the idea of becoming a Charitable Trust.
You can find the report (all 90 odd pages of it !) on the web:
http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/media/documents/Annual_Report_and_Accounts_2009-10.pdf

Incidentally, if I happen to be Beale Park way at the end of August will you be available for rafting or will you be amongst the inner sanctum ? :D

TrueBlue
13-07-10, 19:57
Incidentally, if I happen to be Beale Park way at the end of August will you be available for rafting or will you be amongst the inner sanctum ? :D

Heavens to Murgatroyd! - I'm not an IWA member and don't go to rallies or shows as a rule, so I'll be in mufti.
I've not signed up for the whole weekend, so won't be in the queue, but expect to be able to find a mooring, in which case you'll be very welcome to raft up. I've got a couple of balloon fenders (blue of course) somewhere. I may take a trusty dinghy with me for emergencies.

FWIW I was impressed with the quality of the organisation at the recent meeting and know the whole event will be well organised as well as having a lot beer and boaty things. My immediate mooring neighbour will be in the inner sanctum as he has one of those DB thingys; lucky poo!
If the weather holds and there's enough water it should be great fun.

oldgit
13-07-10, 20:49
Is the Medway Automatic?



All the Medway weirs are automatic even the tidal lock at Allington,which is manned 24/7 all year.
Lock keepers were all done away with during 1970s and the cottages sold off..All the duties in the entire navigation now are carried out by around 4 or five peeps including those at Allington.

Loddon
13-07-10, 21:51
Heavens to Murgatroyd! - I'm not an IWA member and don't go to rallies or shows as a rule, so I'll be in mufti.


The same goes here, not taking the barge, will be staying on a friends boat.

The thing to remember is that many people that own narrowboats wont go on rivers as they are scared of them.
That figure for BW licences includes a large number of cruisers as well from the Trent and other waterways in that area.

Celica
13-07-10, 22:49
Is the Medway Automatic?



All the Medway weirs are automatic even the tidal lock at Allington,which is manned 24/7 all year.
Lock keepers were all done away with during 1970s and the cottages sold off..All the duties in the entire navigation now are carried out by around 4 or five peeps including those at Allington.

Nearly right OG. Seven Navigation Officers and two Resident lock keepers at Allington make up the Upper Medway navigation team. Three people on call 24/7 365
Nearly all the sluices are fully automatic except Eldridge Sluice which is still hand wound for the moment. Allington sluice will be fully automatic by September including flood conditions. The navigation still owns seven lock keepers houses including two at yalding and one at east farleigh.
The introduction of registration on the Medway instead of lock fees reduced the need for lock keepers, even though up river past yalding none were residential, except East lock which had a lock house until the 1950's.

the_wanderer
13-07-10, 23:23
Having been on the BW waterways for many years and also on The Thames I have witnessed first hand the chronic waste of our licence fees and the tax payers money by BW.

I have always been impressed by the buisness like and proper attitude of EA. However, With BW, having people just being employed and not being given a job to do is not good enough. Much better if BW contract out all work and if the wellie danglers want to go on strike well? Yawn, nothing will change, let 'em do it. When you come to anylise the situation, most people in this country do not even know the canals are there. Hardly a reason for a protest march outside Westminster!

I stand for no diversion of funds from EA to BW.


Alan.

Loddon
14-07-10, 09:15
Having been on the BW waterways for many years and also on The Thames I have witnessed first hand the chronic waste of our licence fees and the tax payers money by BW.

I have always been impressed by the buisness like and proper attitude of EA. However, With BW, having people just being employed and not being given a job to do is not good enough. Much better if BW contract out all work and if the wellie danglers want to go on strike well? Yawn, nothing will change, let 'em do it. When you come to anylise the situation, most people in this country do not even know the canals are there. Hardly a reason for a protest march outside Westminster!

I stand for no diversion of funds from EA to BW.


Alan.

Don't know if you have noticed but that's not what is being proposed,
since when has that got in the way of some good scare tactics.

Ivyblack
21-07-10, 07:20
Anything to report back from the DEFRA meeting Cervinia?

IB

boatone
21-07-10, 07:57
Following the meeting, I received a copy of emails between Louis Jankel (NABO) and Sarah Nason, Deputy Director EA and Inland Waterways at DEFRA.

Louis has kindly agreed that I can make this available and you can download a pdf here
http://www.rudderpost.co.uk/library/LJemailsdefra.pdf

oldgit
21-07-10, 08:36
Louis has kindly agreed that I can make this available and you can download a pdf here

So can someone in a couple of sentences give a quick sum up of the problem.
Is this just the usual middle england NIMBY resistance to any change whatsoever no matter what the circumstances ?

boatone
21-07-10, 08:38
Louis has kindly agreed that I can make this available and you can download a pdf here

So can someone in a couple of sentences give a quick sum up of the problem.
Is this just the usual middle england NIMBY resistance to any change whatsoever no matter what the circumstances ?

Why don't you read it and make your own mind up, instead of taxing my brain cell ..... ? :D

Loddon
21-07-10, 09:15
Louis has kindly agreed that I can make this available and you can download a pdf here

So can someone in a couple of sentences give a quick sum up of the problem.
Is this just the usual middle england NIMBY resistance to any change whatsoever no matter what the circumstances ?

Louis was asked at the meeting if it was NIMBYism.
His answer
YES absolutely

I might point out that his emails contain some serious errors re support for his cause.
Neither the DBA or RBOA support his position, NABO has yet to take a decision on the matter and from memory the RYA support a single navigation authority.

My impression gleaned from the meeting is that within a short while there will be a new navigation authority which will come out of the ashes of BW and EA.

Personally I think that as with all government consultation it will go on and then the minister and the treasury will make the decision that suits them best.

One thing that Medway users will have to be aware of is the amalgamation of the Southern and Thames region within EA which could mean a harmonisation of licence fees and you know that the only way that will go will be up!

boatone
21-07-10, 09:26
By making Louis' emails available I was not endorsing or commenting on their content. I do feel. however, that this issue is important to us and the email exchange does highlight issues that need to be better understood and discussed.


Neither the DBA or RBOA support his position, NABO has yet to take a decision on the matter and from memory the RYA support a single navigation authority.

None of those associations can claim to be representative of the majority of Thames boaters. In fact, maybe our biggest problem on the Thames is that there are too many fragmented organisations for us to be represented effectively at times such as these?


My impression gleaned from the meeting is that within a short while there will be a new navigation authority which will come out of the ashes of BW and EA.

Personally I think that as with all government consultation it will go on and then the minister and the treasury will make the decision that suits them best.

Sounds like you are suggesting it is a 'done deal' :D

Chris_d
21-07-10, 09:38
Interesting stuff Tony, difficult to draw any conclusions on which would be better for the Thames both BW and the EA will be short of funds in the future. My gut feeling though is that the Thames should stay with the EA at least they understand the rivers problems and its unique character.

Loddon
21-07-10, 10:13
None of those associations can claim to be representative of the majority of Thames boaters.


None of the organisations claim that. However Louis was using the names of these organisations to add weight to his argument when in at least two cases their clearly stated aims disagree with his position.

The DBA position is that we have always supported the idea of a single navigation authority.

oldgit
21-07-10, 16:58
Why don't you read it and make your own mind up, instead of taxing my brain cell ..... ? :D



I did and could not make any sense of what the problem is ?


Old Chinese Proverb....If you want to make enemies.........Try changing something ? :0

Ivyblack
22-07-10, 12:31
Whoever runs the navigations in the future will been bound by the acts of parliament that ensure that there is always a right to navigate.

Not knowing what the future holds, surely this is a case of better the devil we know?

Cameron is reducing public sector spend by 30% over 4 years or something like this, so assuming spend on the EA navigations will reduce by a pro-rata amount, surely this will be the best deal to accept rather than BW or a trust running their versions of the navigations??

Being cynical, I am just convinced that BW or a trust will bleed the Thames dry of all its potential income (including selling/ renting lock keepers houses) and still won't fund it to the same level as a drop of 30% with the EA would be.

IB

TrueBlue
22-07-10, 20:06
Whoever runs the navigations in the future will been bound by the acts of parliament that ensure that there is always a right to navigate....




AFAIK There is no "right of navigation" on BW's waters, one purchases a license to use.
There is a right of navigation on the Thames, one purchases a registration to be on the water.

Now, I've not explained it well, and it is a "nice" distinction which even a specialised lawyer might have trouble explaining in its detail.

I'm trying to say that the two organisations are different because of that distinction. Not to mention that EA does the flood control function for both.

Doubtless the politicians will sweep aside objections, but underlying rights go back to Runnymede (on the Thames as it happens), and trying to railroad that issue could cause an issue - if any group is prepared to stick their head above the parapet.

Trying to separate the navigation from flood control doesn't make good sense to me.

Help, I'm getting out of control....

While folks dissect my ramblings, please would someone (Byron) help - in days of yore; Thames Water, Thames Conservancy, who was responsible for flood control, and spending thereon.

Nurse, Nurse,

Celica
22-07-10, 20:54
Doesn't the River Severn have flood control by EA and navigation by BW? There must be other navigations that do it this way?

Loddon
22-07-10, 21:53
Doesn't the River Severn have flood control by EA and navigation by BW? There must be other navigations that do it this way?

Trent
Soar
Lea

Cant think of more offhand but Im sure there are some

Louis Jankel
31-07-10, 10:56
Julian, you accuse me of NIMBYism (sic). You are darn tooting.
I have not met one EA registration fee payer who is prepared to consider a single penny of their fee being spent anywhere other than on the Thames. That was me being NIMBY. I presume you consider anglers and fishermen to be classified as nimby when they declaim any suggestion that their rod licence income, nearly £24m, be spent on anything other than angling. I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the man that suggests that.
The almost 9,000 motor vessels registered on the Thames are, in the main, unable and uninterested in cruising the BW waters and certainly have no desire to see their fees used for the upkeep of the canals. Visitor contributions and Gold licence proportions are for use on the Thames and that is where that money should be used. I am not aware of anyone at Defra suggesting this should not be the case.
Julian, you seem to be unaware that representatives on behalf of NABO, RBOA and DBA all attended a meeting of TUGn. It was TUGn I represented at the Defra consultation. The signatories have all agreed with the TUGN position paper. That paper, in simple terms, agrees with the aspiration of a single waterway authority. Every member of TUGn, save IWA, do not wish to see the EA waters to be absorbed into the BW third way trust until the trust has been set up and proved its ability to take on the EA waters. At that time the EA stakeholders will decide if they feel such a move will enhance the opportunity of maintaining or improving the service offered to EA stakeholders. during the formation of this policy.
Julian, you state I have made some factual errors. Please elucidate. I stand by everything I have written. Please elucidate with your facts and sources.
Your comments over the supposed "done deal" seems to impugn Sarah Nason's assurances where she quite clearly gives a clear undertaking and you categorically suggest the reverse is the case. That is at best disrespectful.
The proposed merging of the EA South and Thames Region into the South East Region has enabled you to make another quite unfounded comment about "licence" fees' (we don't have licences but registrations). I was at the RFERACs presentation of this quite excellent proposal. Harmonisation of the EA waters registration fees was, of course of no relevance to this project.
This topic has been rejected ad nauseam by stakeholders. It still resides with Stuart Taylor at Bristol but I suspect he is losing the will to live on this matter. It is unlikely in the present climate harmonisation of charges is top of anyone’s list.
I am quite prepared to have my name and my e-mail available to anyone who has serious questions they wish to have elucidated.
Regards Louis Jankel lbj@cixoffice.com