Three-month ‘restricted’ licences to be dropped
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.