CRT presses on for deal over reciprocal cruising
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.