Thursday, 2 April 2015

Fredom of Information (1a)

I don't know about you - but the Canal and River Trust Guidance for boaters without a home mooring is confounding and confusing for many people. So I decided that first of all I would need to clarify a few things for myself first of all.  The problem with emailing directly to the trust is that you can't guarantee to get a reply after the email is passed on internally. At the NABO annual general meeting.  Dean Davis remarked that he was finding it difficult to get people internally within CaRT to realise that customer service and customer expectations also applied to everyone. So I have decided to submit a freedom of information request.

I said I would report back on any developments in Part 1 of the FoI Request.

The Trust have replied.

We have considered your e-mail of 5th March and do not consider it to be a Freedom of Information Act request; this is because you have not asked us for information that is already recorded.

However, we have responded to the three points of your general enquiry for you below:

1) Can you confirm that the Canal and River Trust Guidance for boaters without a home mooring, is also applicable to all boat owners. Including those with a home mooring while cruising away from that mooring.

No, the guidance is not applicable to boaters who have a licence on the basis they have a home mooring.

2) Could you please inform me of the required minimum distance that the Canal and River Trust deem as being acceptable to satisfy your enforcement criteria when we are cruising Canal and River Trust inland waterways.

We recognise that boaters want clarity over this. However the BW Act 1995 does not stipulate a minimum distance. It does set out the requirement to use the boat bona fide for navigation, and the Trust’s Guidance is our interpretation of this requirement.
Whilst this means that we cannot set a universal minimum distance for compliance, we can advise that it is very unlikely that someone would be able to satisfy us that they have been genuinely cruising if their range of movement is less than 15-20 miles over the period of their licence. In most cases we would expect it to be greater than this.
If there is not a precise minimum distance:

3) To enable me to satisfy myself and yourself that I am fully compliant with the Canal and River Trust Guidance for boaters without a home mooring. Could you please provide me with a formula, including a worked example, which I can use to aid understanding and to calculate the required distance.

There is no formula used.

So essentially the trust says that if you have a home mooring the Guidance does not apply to you. Now, this to me is a disappointing outcome. The 1995 waterways act applies to everyone and now the trust has changed the into a two tier system. Some boaters will see this as a subterfuge and a divide and conquer strategy. To be honest it certainly seems that way.

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