Disabled Bargee Travellers – know your rights
If you are pregnant, on maternity, have a mental or physical disability, or are older you are entitled to have adjustments made to enable you to continue to live and own a boat on Britain’s waterways.
This is thanks to the Equality Act 2010 which means that the Canal and River Trust (or any other authority) cannot expect of you to meet their policies and procedures, including guidance in the same way that they would expect someone who did not fit into these characteristics.
For example, this means CRT shouldn’t 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”. As a result of campaigning by the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) and other groups, CRT has now adopted a standard procedure for assessing and agreeing adjustments to its enforcement procedure for boaters with disabilities.
Your boat license shouldn’t be terminated following enforcement action as your characteristic puts you at a substantial disadvantage. Don’t panic, you shouldn’t be made homeless if you follow our advice and keep the Canal and River Trust informed in writing.
Direct, combined and indirect discrimination defined by the Equality Act 2010
According to Equality Act 2010, direct discrimination occurs if a person is treated less favourably than others because of one or more of the protected characteristics defined in the Equality Act 2010.
If you are finding it difficult to keep in line with the conditions of your license due to a characteristic outlined in the Equality Act 2010 then this is the help sheet for you.
First off make sure you keep up good written communication and contact your local Boat License Officer (Enforcement Officer) via email.
If you are unable to do this get in touch with our caseworkers and we can speak on your behalf.
You may also want to copy in the Welfare Officer:
- The Canal and River Trust should ask if you require an adjustment however we suggest you do inform them yourself.
- The Canal should ask if you require an adjustment however we suggest you do inform them yourself.
What is reasonable in the circumstances cannot be defined in advance but if an adjustment is recommended from a GP, physical or psychological assessment, ATOS or supporting benefits document or other such Professional Authority then this should be taken as reasonable.
Pregnancy might mean you need to be near an area before, during and after birth for trips to visit the midwife. You may also request a period of non-movement after you have given birth.
Chronic illness (which must be on going over a period 12 months or longer) may require treatment, in which case a reduced range can be agreed upon.
Your disability may mean that you are only able to access specific areas, for instance if you find it difficult to open locks due to a physical ailment then a cruising pattern with minimal locks can be agreed upon.
If you are older and require adjustments such as use of a mobility scooter and would need to moor in areas which can accommodate access to you boat such as visitor moorings where you will be entitled to stay for the full 14 days or longer where reasonable in the circumstances.
- If you need additional help people can support you in this process.
If you feel you are unable to manage your adjustment request someone can speak or organise emails on your behalf this can be a relative, friend or a caseworker. You will need to let the Boat Licensing Support team know whom will be representing you and provide signed form of authority;
FORM OF AUTHORITY
of Boat Name:_________________________________________,
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.
- Once you have started the process of requesting a reasonable adjustment you will receive the following email:
To enable us to consider your request, I would be grateful if you could provide in writing, within 28 days of this letter:-
i) Evidence of your disability in the form of a letter from your GP;
Medical evidence should not just state the condition that you currently have, but give some indication about how this might affect mobility or ability to move your boat.
ii) A written description from you of how your disability makes it more difficult for you to comply with our Guidance for Boats without a Home Mooring;
Provide a description of your condition and how this limits your ability to have a movement pattern that we would normally expect of a continuous cruiser, as well as detailing how the adjustment you are requesting would improve your situation/ or how it would help.
iii) Confirmation of the adjustment that you are requesting the Trust to make.
Be specific about the adjustment you are looking for.
For example you may want us to consider an adjustment to your cruising pattern to enable you to attend treatment at a particular hospital. It would also be useful if you could give an indication of how long you believe that you would need the adjustment for.
The team will then review your requests for adjustment and reply with their conclusions regarding your requested adjustments.
Remember you know yourself and your capability best and should you be unhappy with the adjustments the Boat Licensing Support are prepared to make then you will need to raise a complaint and which point be sure to copy the Welfare Officer in.
Please refer to CRT complaints procedure help sheet for further advice and guidance which is to be found on our website:
Or you can contact our case workers for further help and advice:
or call us on 07459354163