Three-month ‘re­stricted’ li­cences to be dropped

Canal Boat - - News -

A YEAR AF­TER the Canal & River Trust be­gan is­su­ing three-month ‘re­stricted’ li­cences to boats with­out home moor­ings which weren’t mov­ing enough to sat­isfy the Trust that they were con­tin­u­ously cruis­ing, the prac­tice is to be ended in May 2016.

The short-term li­cences were the lat­est in a long se­ries of mea­sures to at­tempt to en­sure that such craft were obey­ing the 1995 Bri­tish Wa­ter­ways Act. This is not easy be­cause the Act only says they must sat­isfy the Trust that they are used ‘bona fide for nav­i­ga­tion’ through­out their li­cence pe­riod, with­out stay­ing in one ‘place’ for more than a fort­night, or such longer pe­riod as is ‘rea­son­able’ – with­out defining those terms. How­ever, CRT’s guid­ance states that a to­tal range of un­der 15-20 miles would be un­likely to sat­isfy it.

By Au­gust 2015, over one fifth of the 4,600 craft with­out home moor­ings had al­ready been is­sued with three- or six-month li­cences, fol­low­ing the is­su­ing of re­minders of the need to move. CRT head of boat­ing Mike Grimes said that half of those on three-month li­cences and two-thirds of those on six-month li­cences “im­proved their cruis­ing pat­tern” dur­ing this pe­riod and were sub­se­quently re-li­censed.

He added that the three-month li­cences had al­ways been in­tended as a “tem­po­rary mea­sure” while the ap­proach “bed­ded in”. Six-month li­cences might still be of­fered to those that “aren’t quite meet­ing the re­quire­ments” – but in gen­eral, those not mov­ing in line with CRT guid­ance will “no longer be is­sued with a li­cence of any du­ra­tion”.

Mr Grimes said each case would be looked at “sym­pa­thet­i­cally” and pointed out that 860 ex­tended stays had been agreed since last May. He urged boaters run­ning into dif­fi­cul­ties to talk to the Trust.

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