Mid­dle Level li­cences on the way

Canal Boat - - News -

De­spite a de­lay caused by the gen­eral elec­tion, the par­lia­men­tary process to in­tro­duce boat li­cences on the Mid­dle Level Nav­i­ga­tions is back on track.

Up to now the nav­i­ga­tions which pro­vide the route be­tween the canal net­work and the Great Ouse sys­tem have been com­pletely free to nav­i­gate. As such, they have avoided the Boat Safety Scheme and in­sur­ance re­quire­ments of the Canal & River Trust, En­vi­ron­ment Agency and most other wa­ter­ways. Toi­lets emp­ty­ing into the water­way are still per­mit­ted, and the Mid­dle Level Com­mis­sion­ers have no pow­ers to re­move sunken boats or to charge for over­stay­ing.

All of these were set to be brought into line with the EA and CRT by the Mid­dle Level Bill – but it was lost when the elec­tion was called. How­ever fol­low­ing a vote by MPs, it will pro­ceed in the new Par­lia­ment.

Some op­pose the Bill: the Na­tional Bargee Trav­ellers As­so­ci­a­tion says the wa­ter­ways are “an op­tion for boat dwellers who can­not pay the li­cence fees or keep to the terms and con­di­tions de­manded by other nav­i­ga­tion au­thor­i­ties such as CRT.” On the other hand, the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion says it will en­able the au­thor­ity to “run its nav­i­ga­tions ef­fec­tively”, and that fees can fund more boater fa­cil­i­ties, which are cur­rently very sparse.

On the Mid­dle Level at Ben­wick

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