CRT presses on for deal over re­cip­ro­cal cruis­ing

Canal Boat - - News -

DE­SPITE HAV­ING FAILED to per­suade the Bridge­wa­ter Canal’s owner to re­in­state re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ments for vis­it­ing boats from Canal & River Trust wa­ter­ways, CRT is still try­ing to get this year’s changes re­versed.

His­tor­i­cally owned by the Manch­ester Ship Canal Com­pany, the Bridge­wa­ter had un­til re­cently been sub­ject to an agree­ment that CRT li­censed craft could use it free of charge for up to seven days at a time; the same ap­ply­ing to Bridge­wa­ter reg­is­tered boats us­ing nearby CRT wa­ter­ways. But ear­lier this year, Manch­ester Ship Canal owners Peel Ports uni­lat­er­ally im­posed a £40 vis­i­tor li­cence charge for any craft re­turn­ing to the Bridge­wa­ter within four weeks, lead­ing to con­cerns by boaters (and branches of the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion) that this was putting boaters off trav­el­ling via the Bridge­wa­ter to visit the Liver­pool Link and to at­tend events.

Some con­ces­sions have since been agreed: the fee has been re­duced to £20, and ex­emp­tions have been made for craft at­tend­ing ral­lies. But at a meet­ing in July, CRT was un­able to per­suade Peel to change its view that the fee was nec­es­sary to raise in­come and to deal with en­force­ment is­sues.

CRT sees this as a ‘sledge­ham­mer’ ap­proach based on lit­tle ev­i­dence, which is hit­ting the wrong peo­ple. The Trust was due to meet Peel in Oc­to­ber to again push for re­in­state­ment of the pre­vi­ous ar­range­ments.

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