RBOA calls for waterways authorities to break the law

After RBOA press release; http://www.rboa.org.uk/continuous-cruising-a-new-approach-from-the-rboa/

NBTA London’s response;

Residential Boat Owners’ Association (RBOA) seems to want all waterway authorities to act beyond the British Waterways Act 1995. Their online statement states that the ‘RBOA is well aware of the inadequacy of the British Waterways Act 1995 in providing a legal framework covering continuous cruising’. We can see why RBOA thinks this from their online statement; they want to redefine navigation in the same way the Canal and River Trust (CRT) want to include an element of distance for boats without a home mooring as a gauge of navigation. RBOA states an example of using distance as a gauge of navigation by saying they would be in favour of boats without a home mooring completing a ‘progressive journey’ ‘that would equate to 200 and 300 miles per year’. This is why RBOA thinks that the 1995 Act isn’t good enough.

The RBOA’s preference for a 200-300 mile distance comes from a place of prejudice. Prejudice against working people who are travelling boaters; against bargee traveller families; and boaters who are physically or mentally ill, as opposed to those boaters who use the waterways as a place for their hobbies or leisure who may have a boat as a second home. The waterways are a place for a range of people and they are not just for a certain kind of person.

The RBOA’s statement talks of London (and Bath) having too many boats; and a dislike of boats without home moorings ‘with having lifestyle connections with one place – for example: education of children, employment or health needs’. This is very telling of the intentions for their envisioned rules. Their intentions are to get rid of a sizeable part of the boaters without home mooring community.

RBOA seems to have no interest in the law, not just the 1995 Act but the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 states that equality adjustment should be made by bodies as such as CRT for people with health needs in order to address unequal opportunity. To demand that all waterway authorities should act against people without home moorings that need to be in a certain area because of health needs is a demand that waterway authorities should break the law under the Equality Act 2010.

The NBTA is against demands for more rules on boats without a home mooring and if these demands are left unchallenged, it would encourage waterway authorities to push off a sizeable part of our community off the waterways. We will need to keep a watchful eye on CRT and other waterways authorities who want to use this as an excuse for any changes to enforcement which puts more pressure on boat dwellers without home moorings. NBTA will act against any increase in enforcement.


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