Disabled boaters – know your rights says NBTA

NBTA News release October 2015

Campaigning by the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) and other groups has meant that the Canal and River Trust (CRT) has now adopted a standard procedure for assessing and agreeing adjustments to its enforcement procedure for boaters with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

If you have a disability, are older, or are pregnant, you are entitled under the Equality Act 2010 not to have the enforcement policies and procedures of Canal & River Trust (CRT) or any other authority applied to you in the same way as they would be applied to the majority.

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For example, this means CRT cannot tell you that you should not be living on a boat because you are disabled, “too old” or pregnant. These rights are in addition to the rights of all boaters without home moorings on CRT waterways to stay in one place longer than 14 days if it is “reasonable in the circumstances”.

The National Bargee Travellers Association has assisted a number of boat dwellers without home moorings to negotiate ‘reasonable adjustments’ to CRT’s enforcement procedure. For example, a boater who uses a mobility scooter is now able to use visitor moorings for 14 days at a time without attracting enforcement action, because he needs to be moored on a hard edge to get the mobility scooter on and off the boat.

In another case in London, a boater on a restricted licence with ongoing mental health issues, who was being supported by a NBTAL case worker, was offered an Equalities Adjustment to their cruising pattern by CRT. However, prior to the restricted licence, CRT had failed to inform the boater of the Equalities Adjustment policy, despite the boater informing them of their illness and treatment. If you are disable or have a chronic illness lasting more than 12 months, it is important that you make sure any CRT enforcement officer you are in contact with is aware of this policy.

The NBTA has published full advice for disabled boaters and for boaters who are pregnant or elderly. The detailed advice sheet can be found on the NBTA London branch (NBTAL) website here: https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/full-advice-sheet-for-disabled-elderly-and-pregnant-boaters/

The CRT procedure ‘flow chart’ for implementing their Equalities Adjustments, which was obtained following a Freedom of Information request can be found on the NBTAL website here: https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/crt-equalities-adjustment-process-flow-chart/

Ends

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