Water & Marine: Inland waterways

These regulations cover the management of inland waterways, the right balance of interests among waterway users, protection of employees, canal classification, Environment Agency boat registration schemes and British Waterways employee pension rights, and applications for hire boat licences.

We want to hear your views on what more we can do to deliver a simpler, less bureaucratic and more effective system whilst maintaining safe access for all. For example could the enforcement of the Environment Agency (inland Waterways) Order be improved by providing for a statutory Code of Practice for hire boats.

You can find all regulations that relate to inland waterways below to the left. Please note the transfer of British Waterway’s statutory obligations (including those covered by some of these regulations) to the Canal & River Trust in June will be subject to parliamentary consideration and approval in the next few months of the draft Transfer Order under the Public Bodies Act 2011.

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The British Waterways Board (Kennet and Avon canal) (Reclassification) Order 2011

Reclassification of the main navigable channel of the Kennet and Avon Canal from remainder to cruising canal.

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Domestic regulation

The Environment Agency (Inland Waterways Order) 2010

Harmonisation of the EA boat registration and licensing schemes to ensure consistent safety and enforcement standards.

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Domestic regulation

Regulatory Reform (British Waterways Board ) Order 2003

Enables British Waterways to form or work with a company in England and Wales to carry out its activities without affecting BW’s borrowing powers

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Domestic regulation

Wye Navigation Order 2002

Repeals or partially repeals a number of antiquated local Acts. Enables the EA to effectively manage and balance the public right of navigation with fisheries interests.

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Domestic regulation

Deregulation (Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907) Order 1997

Disapplies the requirement to obtain an licence from the local authority for hire boats on British Waterways canals

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Domestic regulation

The British Waterways Board (Sheffield and Tinsley canal) (Reclassification) Order 1996

Reclassification of the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal from remainder to cruising canal

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Domestic regulation

Southern Water Authority (Transfer of Lower Medway Navigation Functions) Order 1979

Transfered Lower Medway navigation functions from the Southern Water Authority to National Rivers Authority which became part of the Environment Agency

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Domestic regulation

British Waterways Board (Alteration of Pension Schemes) (No 2) Order 1971

Covers the terms and arrangements agreed for pension schemes transferred from the British Transport Commission to British Waterways.

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Domestic regulation

British Waterways Board (Alteration of Pension Schemes) Order 1971

Covers the terms and arrangements agreed for BW Pension schemes for BW employees.

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Domestic regulation

British Transport (Transfer from British Waterways Board Pension Schemes) Order 1968

Lays down conditions for the transfer value payment for persons leaving the BW Pension Scheme

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Domestic regulation

Tell us what you think should happen to these regulations and why, being specific where possible:

100 responses to Water & Marine: Inland waterways

  • Nick Brown said on February 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    “RED TAPE CHALLENGE”
    Preliminary Response from the National Bargee Travellers Association
    to Richard Benyon, Waterways Minister
    17th February 2012

    This is a preliminary response to this consultation, is abbreviated and will be followed by a fuller response in due course. Our comments as follows:

    1 This is a consultation. It is being operated in breach of the Code on consultations. Some of the times provided for comment are painfully short and give no opportunity for considered and constructive response. I note that your government has already been criticised for conducting truncated consultations (I refer to the FITs consultation). Please conduct consultations by the regs. If you don’t like the regs, then change them. But please don’t short-circuit what is already there – and is there for a very good reason.
    2 the list of regulations on the web site scratches the surface. There is no mention of the Transport Act 1962, nor the British Waterways 68, 71, 83 or 95 Acts, nor the 76 bye-laws. There is also no mention of the draconian draft bye-laws that BW wishes to introduce. No mention of the various bye-laws governing navigations falling under the jurisdiction of the EA. No mention of the other 19 navigation authorities and their legislation. This would, I argue, amount to misrepresentation.
    Regs here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk
    EA bye-laws here: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Leisure/River_Thames_navigation_byelaws_1993_(Amended_2010).pdf
    BW bye-laws here: http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/media/documents/BW_General_Canal_Bye-laws.pdf
    AINA details here http://www.aina.org.uk/members.aspx which leads to a list of each of the members, who in turn have their own bye-laws.
    3 I have no doubt that you are aware that in January 2012 I initiated judicial review proceedings against British Waterways in relation to its national mooring strategy and, more specifically, the publication of the 2011 Guidance for Users of Boats Without Home Moorings (previously the “Continuous Cruising Guidelines”). In the Letter Before Claim I also named the Secretary of State (or yourself as the case may be) for failing to manage BW as a user of public money (the annual grant that it receives) as BW bears all the hallmarks of being out of control. I have provided evidence of such in my JR claim. BWs treatment of users of Boats Without Home Moorings is unlawful and appalling. Before your government interferes with the prevailing legislation I propose that you examine how BW may be instructed to conduct itself lawfully and (if this consultation has any purpose apart from dismantling what little legislative protection there already is for boat-dwellers) if it declines to do so how it may be dealt with accordingly.
    4 I note that in Grant Shapps (Housing Minister, DCLG) press release of 27th August 2011 he affirms his support for water-dwelling homes. I note that Sally Ash, Head of Boating BW makes comment echoing this. This is at odds with the policy of BW and echoed in Ms Ash’s comments in public meetings that the objective of BW is to see users of boats without home moorings driven off the canal system. I see no mention in your red-tape-attenuating exercise of seeking to reinforce the protection of live-aboard boaters afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights nor the Equality Act – indeed I see evidence of your government seeking to derogate.
    5 I note that between the cases of BW v Davies, BW v Ward, BW v Moore, another BW case against a live-aboard boater and my own JR something in the order of £1m has been spent on legal fees by BW and the claimants or defendants (as the case may be). Given that this arises not through proper management of the waterways but BWs intent to operate unlawfully and with impunity, I propose that your effort to “rationalise” the legislation governing BW should include consideration of the management of BW itself. For the avoidance of doubt, the 84 page judgement in Moore v BW includes (a) extensive and robust criticism of BWs conduct (including touching on some issues of fraud by BW) and (b) a statement by the presiding judge that the primary and secondary legislation governing BW requires a fundamental overhaul as it is being mis-operated by BW because of the legislation’s ambiguity. When the 1995 Act was cast, it involved a 5-year exercise, many days of Select Committee hearings and over a thousand pages of minutes. How can a “on the fly” consultation seek to achieve this type of scrutiny?
    6 I note that once again the count of live-aboard itinerant boaters has been excluded from the bi-annual caravan count. The caravan count exercise seeks to identify the needs of itinerant caravan dwellers by first identifying them. This exclusion is despite (1) considerable effort to seek to have the needs of live-aboard boaters identified by government and (2) a statement of the Secretary of State in April 2009 that Bargee Travellers are protected by the Housing Act 2004 (as far as this very limited protection extends). Why is this, Mr Benyon?

    I have to say that in all of this mêlée of activity you have been persistently quiet in responding to boaters lobbying your office to seek to have our voices heard. This is not a question of lobbying to improve our lot: for live-aboards on the canals falling under BWs jurisdiction this is a question of survival. I note that when one of my colleagues door-stepped you at your constituency office in Newbury (she was moored just outside, apparently) you agreed to meet with her to engage in constructive dialogue about the needs of live-aboard boaters. No meeting materialised. Meanwhile BW proceeds on its inexorable path of seeing off the live-aboards once and for all.

    So I conclude by suggesting that if your bona fides are to be believed, rather than fiddling around the edges with waterways legislation you may find it more productive to examine the operators of the legislation and strengthen your resolve to ensure that BW ceases and desists from operating unlawfully. As for the Users of Boats Without Home Moorings, I believe that the Equality and Human Rights Commission are commencing an interest in the governance of BW which after all falls onto your desk for resolution.

    Nick Brown
    Legal Officer
    National Bargee Travellers Association

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