Cause for complaint?
UNMARKED SHALLOWS IN a river, discounts to boats on disconnected waterways, and a winding hole being taken out of use were among the varied complaints about the Canal & River Trust which were dealt with by the Waterways Ombudsman during the past year.
Overall there was a modest reduction in enquiries received by Ombudsman Andrew Walker from 66 to 58. Excluding those that didn’t relate to CRT, hadn’t already exhausted the internal complaints procedures, or were outside his jurisdiction left 20 for investigation.
During the year, 18 investigations were completed. Three complaints were upheld: A boat owner whose craft had been seized under a Section 8 notice (these are issued for removal of unlicensed craft) and subsequently damaged by frost (even though the owner had asked for it to be winterised) received £11,500 for repairs. An underwater obstruction in the Severn at Worcester had caused damage to craft but went unmarked for over a year. CRT refused to issue a houseboat certificate that was assignable to a new owner on sale
of the boat, without justification.
Six cases partially upheld included complaints involving a boater whose craft had required recovery by River Canal Rescue after becoming stuck on an obstruction on tidal water on the Ribble Link; consultation with boaters about a trial mooring plan for the Kennet & Avon, and bookings for the Liverpool Link.
There were nine complaints not upheld, including claims that CRT should regard the Lancaster Canal and the section of the Montgomery below Frankton Locks as ‘disconnected waterways’ eligible for a licence discount; and damage to a car from barriers at a swingbridge over the Kennet & Avon.