BOATS ARE HOMES, NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION

There is demonstration to demand that the Canal and River Trust (CRT) stops evicting or threatening to evict travelling boat dwellers based on their pattern of travel or distance traveled. It is also to stop the reduction of the 14 day rule, to stop the sale of our waterways and to demand the maintenance of the waterway banks, to install more mooring rings and more facilities.

On the Saturday 16 April at 12.30am in Central London, Gower Street / Euston Road, London NW1

Boats Are Homes - Towpath Gathering April 2015
Boats Are Homes – Towpath Gathering April 2015 taken by David Roberts

For more info read on.

It’s coming up to a year since Canal & River Trust (CRT) rolled out its policy of refusing to renew or shortening the licence periods of boaters without permanent moorings who CRT deem not to have travelled in the ‘correct’ manner. Many in our community have been affected by the threat of losing our homes and some boat dwellers have already been evicted by CRT.

CRT has not just gone after boaters who have travelled in a very small area. CRT has also shortened or refused to renew the licences of boat dwellers who have travelled up to 100 miles. It seems CRT’s aim is to get rid of a certain number of boat dwellers without a home mooring and they are not too bothered about who they get rid of.

There is already a law that states we mustn’t stay longer than 14 days in one place. We don’t need CRT making up unlawful extra ‘rules’. We must step up the campaign to stop CRT restricting or refusing to renew the licences of boaters whose travelling pattern is completely lawful.

In addition to this, CRT has reduced the stay times in some areas from 14 days to as little as 24 hours. They have concreted over canal banks making it impossible to moor in large areas of London and other urban areas, have failed to maintain the canal bank and in some cases CRT even plan to sell off stretches of waterway contrary to assurances given to Parliament in 2012.

CRT made a surplus of £39.4 million in 2014/15 and hold a reserve fund of £660 million. CRT can easily afford to install more facilities for boaters and repair waterway banks that are currently impossible to moor on. Instead, CRT has taken away or failed to repair water taps, sewage and rubbish disposal facilities.

Boat dwellers will be joining the People Assembly demo which one key demand is for housing on 16th April 2016 to demonstrate that our community deserves better. We will not be alone. We will march with others demanding decent housing. We will hand in a petition to Parliament demanding that the Government pressures CRT to stop its attack on boat dwellers without a home mooring.

We plan to take a picture of all the boat dwellers on the march to bring to another demonstration at CRT offices a few weeks after. We demand:

Stop Evictions of Boat Dwellers!

Defend the 14 day rule!

Stop the Sale of our Waterways!

Maintain the Waterway Banks and More Mooring Rings!

More Facilities!

 

This is the petition which we will be handing in

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/boats-are-homes-prevent-the-eviction-of-boat-dwellers

It has more than 23 000 signatures, please sign and share it. Let’s get 25 000 signing it!

For the facebook event;https://www.facebook.com/events/503828719817975/


Please contact secretariat@bargee-traveller.org.uk or 07710160340 for more information

Advertisements

What to do if you been given a restricted license

A ‘restricted’ licence is part of the Canal and River Trust’s (CRT) new enforcement policy that was introduced and rolled out early in 2015 to cover all boats with no home moorings. The restricted licence is a licence for 6 months, as opposed to the possible full 12 months licence, and is basically a ‘last chance’ warning from CRT that they do not believe that a boater is complying with their new guidance and enforcement practice. The Canal and River Trust (CRT) issue restricted licences to a boater if they think a boater has done something ‘wrong’ like “not moving far enough” or “shuffling” based on their monitoring of the boats movements over the previous licence period. The our caseworkers believe that restricted licences are dangerous to boaters as the boater could eventually lose their home altogether. We advise people to challenge them if they think they have been treated unfairly.

The NBTA and some lawyers have stated that CRT can legally issue licenses that are less than a full year licence. This is because the law doesn’t state how long a license period has to be. However, if you accept and pay for your restricted license it doesn’t mean you have agreed that what CRT says is ‘wrong’ is wrong. Especially if you follow it up with a complaint to CRT. However, having a restricted licence can make it more likely that CRT will refuse you a licence next time you want to have your licence renewed.

Successfully challenging a restricted licence depends on a) CRT not breaking its own policies and procedures and b) proving to CRT that their sighting data is wrong or incomplete. A complaint about getting a restricted licence acts as an ‘appeal’. There is no other formal appeal process for boaters being given restricted licences.

The first thing is find out the reason why CRT has given you a restricted licence. It should say the reason on the email/letter they send you. If it doesn’t say the reason(s) or it is not clearly stated, you need to email or send a letter to CRT asking what the reason(s) that they want to give you a restricted licence. Make sure you only contact CRT using either email or letter so that everything is documented. It makes everything else easier. If you have a problem understanding what CRT is saying, then you can email nbta.london.caseworker@gmail.com or ring 07974298958 and caseworker can help you.

So far we know that CRT restricts licences for boaters they think have done one or more of the following:

Click on those that apply to you for the helpsheet and template letters.

The main point is to find out what CRT have accused you of and to find evidence to prove them wrong or that their conclusions are unreasonable. Was your overstay reasonable where they say it was unreasonable? Have they got your sightings wrong and said that you travelled less than you have or/and have they said you have had a different travel pattern than that which you had? To prove this to CRT you must have evidence to back up your claims. Therefore, ask them to give you your sighting data. A good person to email to get sighting data is information.request@canalrivertrust.org.uk. More detail on what evidence you may need can be found in the links above.

As well as the possibility of CRT getting something wrong about what you did, they might not have given you a ‘fair warning’ before giving you a restricted licence.

CRT has enforcement procedures that claim to give boaters a ‘fair warning’ before enacting any enforcement action. Below is the CRT procedures for giving a restricted licence. This information has been put together from what NBTA has been sent from CRT and what CRT has put out online. It may be useful to collect evidence to show CRT has not given a ‘fair warning’ before giving you a restricted licence. If CRT has not given you ‘fair warning’ then, we recommend that you request that they therefore take to you out of enforcement as they have acted outside of their own rules.

Here are some things that might be useful to argue that CRT hasn’t given you a ‘fair warning’:

  • CRT’s Head of Customer Services, Ian Rogers has written that “CRT will get in touch about six weeks before the licence renewal date, if we’ve any concerns about a boater’s past cruising pattern.” Link here for full article Ltr_Pamela Smith_NBTA_Level 1 Complaint_26.10.2015 (1). So has CRT done that with you?

If CRT hasn’t done one or more of things then write them a letter/email to say that they haven’t given you a fair warning before issuing you a restricted licence action on you. Click here for a template  fair warning letter.

CRT might take it more seriously if you make a formal complaint. If your complaint goes far enough in the complaints procedure then it will go to the ‘independent’ Waterways Ombudsman. Click here for a template complaint letter Level 1 Complaint_Restricted licence. And here is CRT’s complaint procedure https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/making-a-complaint

And a help sheet for writing complaints click here Advice about CRT enforcementv2 14-3-15

All of this might get your full licence back if you have a case where CRT has broken its own policies and procedures and you have good amount of evidence to back that up. However, CRT still might not reverse its original decision even after you have proven to them that they are in the wrong. Nevertheless, we still suggest that you should try it because it is possible for you to win and it can put you in a better position if you ever need to go to court. If you would like any help with any of this, you can contact a caseworker by emailing nbta.london.caseworker@gmail.com or ring 07974298958.

If CRT has acted incorrectly to you and you have shown them that and they are still saying they will restrict your licence, then the next course of action can be a campaign. A campaign could show that CRT has acted incorrectly even in their own policies and procedures. This could get your full licence back because CRT doesn’t want to seem to be an illegitimate and unreasonable organisation. If you have got to this point, email nbtalondon@gmail.com.

Please tell us how things go with CRT as the more we know about how CRT reacts to boaters, the better our advice can be. Email  nbta.london.caseworker@gmail.com or ring 07974298958.

Ludo 1

A Ludovic Pujol drawing

CRT says you have stayed longer than 14 days in one place

Canal and River Trust (CRT) does sometimes get people’s sighting data wrong. The first thing you should do is get all the sighting data that CRT has on your boats movements. To do this email the following email address to request your sighting data: information.request@canalrivertrust.org.uk. Here is a template letter request-sighting-data (2). To understand what CRT sightings mean, use this link:

https://canalrivertrust.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTools/index.html?appid=b46e3e0bda4a44a0be267df7674139a5

If CRT has got your sighting of overstay wrong, then email them saying they have got it wrong and show them the evidience that they are wrong. Here is a template letter Sighting data is wrong.Evidence can include the following but are not necessary exclusive to:

  • Log book of where your boat was

  • Dated pictures of your boat in an area

  • GPS of your boat

  • Receipts from local shops/ boat yard etc

  • Tube/train tickets from the local area

  • Witness statements

CRT might have your overstay right but you might have been reasonably overstaying. The British Waterways Act 1995 states that a boat without a home mooring must not stay longer than 14 days unless reasonable. Therefore, you could have overstayed and it might have been reasonable. What is reasonable is up for argument. However, there are some reasons that are considered reasonable, here is some the NBTA knows about:

  • illness/disable/pregnancy that effects you moving your boat
  • boat is broken down
  • adverse weather conditions
  • you would have disturb a bird’s nest if you moved
  • canal or river works that prevent you moving
  • close relative has die and this has effected moving your boat

First establish the time period CRT is saying you overstayed. Ask CRT for your sighting data, email information.request@canalrivertrust.org.uk as above.

Secondly have a look at the reasons above and see if they fit into your overstay. If so, you can argue that you were reasonably overstaying. However, if you have overstayed more than 14 days in one place and you are unable to prove your overstay is reasonable then you don’t have a good case to stop CRT restricting your licence or refusing you a licence. This is because the law clearly states you must not stay in one place longer than 14 days.

Thirdly, if you believe your overstay is reasonable, then you need to find evidence to prove your overstay was reasonable. Evidence can be different depending on the type of reason of overstaying.

For illness/disable/pregnancy that effects you moving your boat, get a letter from your doctor saying how your illness/disability/pregnancy affects you moving your boat and that you were unable to move at the time of the overstay. Write description of how your illness/disability/pregnancy makes it more difficult for you to comply with the 14 days rule. Then send a copy to enforcement (list of email addresses are on the NBTA London website) and welfare officer sean.williams@canalrivertrust.org.uk. For more information click here https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/full-advice-sheet-for-disabled-elderly-and-pregnant-boaters/.

If the overstay was because your boat was broken down, write down when it first broke down, for how long and what was wrong with it. Evidence can include; receipts of work done or/and parts, also pictures of the work being done, email communication between you and work person or shops you bought the parts from. If the work is slowed down due to lack of funds, show CRT a copy of your bank account and how much the parts or labour cost. This might show that you were not able to get the work done sooner.

Adverse weather conditions can be proved by using the Met Office weather reports but pictures of your boat in the flood, wind, ice etc. can also help.

It is a criminal offence to intentionally damage or disturb a wild bird’s nest or dependent young of such a bird and anyone doing so could be fined or even jailed under the part 1 of 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. Therefore, if you know that moving your boat will damage or disturb a bird’s nest before you move and you still move your boat and damage the nest, you are breaking the law. This means it is reasonable reason not move because it would damage or disturb the nest. You must wait until the nest is no longer in use. If your overstay is because of that, then having a dated picture of the bird on its nest is evidence. Send the picture with an email explaining the situation to CRT.

If the reasonable reason is the canal or river works prevent you from moving then send them the proof. CRT sometimes puts details of its works on its website, https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/ . Have a look on there and send information to the enforcement officer you’re dealing with. Also, you can contact the customer.services@canalrivertrust.org.uk if they had works on at the point you believe they had works on. Forward the email they send back to you to the enforcement officer you’re dealing with.

CRT might take it more seriously if you make a formal complaint. Also if your complaint goes far enough in the complaints procedure then it will go to the ‘independent’ Waterways Ombudsman. Click here for a template complaint letter Level 1 Complaint_Restricted licence. And here is CRT’s complaint procedure https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/making-a-complaint

And here is a help sheet for writing complains.

If you would like any help with any of this, you can contact a caseworker by emailing nbta.london.caseworker@gmail.com or ring 07974298958.

CRT says you don’t have the right travel pattern

There is nowhere in law which states any particular travel pattern you much travel in. However the Canal and River Trust (CRT) will sometimes use the way you have travelled to say if you are using your boat for navigation or not. If they think you have stayed too long in one area going in-between places or even just doing a u-turn, they might see you as in the wrong. However, CRT might concede to your argument if you can prove that they have gotten your pattern of movement wrong.

The first thing you should do is get all the sighting data that CRT have of your boat. To do this email the following email address to request your sighting data: information.request@canalrivertrust.org.uk. Here is a template letter request-sighting-data (2).

Then compare CRT’s sighting to where you believe you were. To understand what CRT sightings mean, use this link:

https://canalrivertrust.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTools/index.html?appid=b46e3e0bda4a44a0be267df7674139a5

If CRT has got it wrong, email them saying they have got it wrong and show them the evidence. Here is a template letter Sighting data is wrong. Evidence can include the following but are not necessary exclusive to:

  • Log book of where your boat was

  • Dated pictures of your boat in an area

  • GPS of your boat

  • Receipts from local shops/ boat yard etc

  • Tube/train tickets from the local area

  • Witness statements

After submitting the evidence to CRT, they may then take your sightings into account and this might prove to them that you have travelled ‘in the correct manner’.

CRT might take it more seriously if you make a formal complaint. If your complaint goes far enough in the complaints procedure then it will go to the ‘independent’ Waterways Ombudsman. Click here for a template complaint letter for your restricted licence Level 1 Complaint_Restricted licence . And here is CRT’s complaint procedure https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/making-a-complain

And a help sheet for writing complaints How to use CRT complaints procedureV2 26-2-15.

If you would like any help with any of this, you can contact a caseworker by emailing nbta.london.caseworker@gmail.com or ring 07974298958.

CRT says you haven’t travelled far enough

There is no where in law which states how far a boat must travel, however the Canal and River Trust (CRT) has started it is using distance you have travelled to say if you are using your boat for navigation or not. CRT has stated that they believe boaters without a home mooring should travel more than 15-20 miles over their licence period. This has been stated here; https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/boating/licensing/enforcement/boaters-without-a-home-mooring-how-far-is-far-enough. Nevertheless, CRT says 20 miles might not be enough. Click here for link Ltr_Pamela Smith_NBTA_Level 1 Complaint_26.10.2015 (1).

If CRT thinks you have stayed too long in one area, even if you have done much more than 20 miles, they might still take enforcement action against you. They would be following their own policy. However, sometimes CRT will concede to your argument that you have moved ‘far enough’.

The first thing you should do is get all the sighting data that CRT have of your boat. To do this email the following email address to request your sighting data: information.request@canalrivertrust.org.uk. Here is a template letter request-sighting-data (2).

Then compare CRT’s sighting to where you believe you were. To understand what CRT sightings mean, use this link:

https://canalrivertrust.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTools/index.html?appid=b46e3e0bda4a44a0be267df7674139a5

If CRT has got it wrong, email them saying they have got it wrong and show them the evidence that they are wrong. Here is a template letter Sighting data is wrongEvidence can include the following but are not necessary exclusive to:

  • Log book of where your boat was

  • Dated pictures of your boat in an area

  • GPS of your boat

  • Receipts from local shops/ boat yard etc

  • Tube/train tickets from the local area

  • Witness statements

After submitting the evidence to CRT, they may then take your sightings into account and this might prove to them that you have travelled ‘in the correct manner’.

This website before could help with finding out now big your range is in miles over your licence period.

http://canalplan.org.uk/waterway/ukuk

CRT might take it more seriously if you make a formal complaint. Also if your complaint goes far enough in the complaints procedure then it will go to the ‘independent’ Waterways Ombudsman. Click here for a template complaint letter if they get your sighting data wrong. Click here for a template complaint letter for your restricted licence Level 1 Complaint_Restricted licence . And here is CRT complaint procedure https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/making-a-complain

And here is a help sheet for writing complaints https://nbtalondon.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/how-to-use-crt-complaints-procedurev2-26-2-15.pdf

If you would like any help with any of this, you can contact a caseworker by emailing nbta.london.caseworker@gmail.com or ring 07974298958.

FORM OF AUTHORITY

This is for, if you want a NBTA caseworker to talk to CRT on your behalf.

FORM OF AUTHORITY
I, ____________________________________
of Boat Name:_________________________________________,
Boat Number:___________________,
hereby give authority for members of the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) caseworkers to represent me and act on my behalf with regards to my dealings with the Canal and River Trust (CRT). In regards to these dealings, I hereby give consent for the NBTA Caseworkers Group to the disclosure of my records with CRT.
Signed:
____________________________
Dated: ______________________

 

Download form of authority here;

FORM OF AUTHORITY

 

Boats are Homes, National Demonstration

There is demonstration to demand that the Canal and River Trust (CRT) stops evicting or threatening to evict travelling boat dwellers based on their pattern of travel or distance traveled. It is also to stop the reduction of the 14 day rule, to stop the sale of our waterways and to demand the maintenance of the waterway banks, to install more mooring rings and more facilities.

On the Saturday 16 April at 12.30am in Central London, Gower Street / Euston Road, London NW1

Boats Are Homes - Towpath Gathering April 2015
Boats Are Homes – Towpath Gathering April 2015

For more info read on.

It’s coming up to a year since Canal & River Trust (CRT) rolled out its policy of refusing to renew or shortening the licence periods of boaters without permanent moorings who CRT deem not to have travelled in the ‘correct’ manner. Many in our community have been affected by the threat of losing our homes and some boat dwellers have already been evicted by CRT.

CRT has not just gone after boaters who have travelled in a very small area. CRT has also shortened or refused to renew the licences of boat dwellers who have travelled up to 100 miles. It seems CRT’s aim is to get rid of a certain number of boat dwellers without a home mooring and they are not too bothered about who they get rid of.

There is already a law that states we mustn’t stay longer than 14 days in one place. We don’t need CRT making up unlawful extra ‘rules’. We must step up the campaign to stop CRT restricting or refusing to renew the licences of boaters whose travelling pattern is completely lawful.

In addition to this, CRT has reduced the stay times in some areas from 14 days to as little as 24 hours. They have concreted over canal banks making it impossible to moor in large areas of London and other urban areas, have failed to maintain the canal bank and in some cases CRT even plan to sell off stretches of waterway contrary to assurances given to Parliament in 2012.

CRT made a surplus of £39.4 million in 2014/15 and hold a reserve fund of £660 million. CRT can easily afford to install more facilities for boaters and repair waterway banks that are currently impossible to moor on. Instead, CRT has taken away or failed to repair water taps, sewage and rubbish disposal facilities.

Boat dwellers will be joining the People Assembly demo which one key demand is for housing on 16th April 2016 to demonstrate that our community deserves better. We will not be alone. We will march with others demanding decent housing. We will hand in a petition to Parliament demanding that the Government pressures CRT to stop its attack on boat dwellers without a home mooring.

We plan to take a picture of all the boat dwellers on the march to bring to another demonstration at CRT offices a few weeks after. We demand:

Stop Evictions of Boat Dwellers!

Defend the 14 day rule!

Stop the Sale of our Waterways!

Maintain the Waterway Banks and More Mooring Rings!

More Facilities!

 

This is the petition which we will be handing in

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/boats-are-homes-prevent-the-eviction-of-boat-dwellers

It has more than 23 000 signatures, please sign and share it. Let’s get 25 000 signing it!

For the facebook event; https://www.facebook.com/events/503828719817975/


Please contact secretariat@bargee-traveller.org.uk or 07710160340 for more information

We are also on twitter @nbtalondon