What Is The Future Of CRT?

From the controversy of its new logo, selling its Marinas, and its big shake up in management, there are a lot of concerns as to where CRT is heading and what lies in store for the boating community as a whole. Many are confused as to where CRT’s responsibilities lie and what a Charitable Trust even looks like, in an ever more profit driven world.

By the end of the 2nd World War, the waterways came under the control of the Ministry of Transport. This was reformed by the British Transport Commission and became the British Waterways Board after the 1962 Transport Act was passed. This turned a previously public owned body into a “quasi”, which is defined in the Oxford dictionary as ‘seemingly; apparently but not really’! This new board was a public Corporation and mainly concerned with commerce and inland waterway assets. It was an ‘arm’s length’ institution and owned by the British Government, sponsored in 1963 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in England and Wales, and by the Scottish Government in Scotland.

By late 1969, early 1970, commerce on the canal system had all but ended. Stretches were filled in and it looked like we might lose the canals for ever. The much hated 1971 BWB Act and consequent 1983 BWB Act were brought in to evict traders and live-aboards from the water; Section 8 and Section 13 of the enforcement process.

The main body fighting to save the canals back then was the IWA and through lobbying and direct actions, a small but determined group of bargees and boaters managed to save this historic asset for the future. Volunteers and enthusiasts reinstated cuts and dug links that had been left as rubbish dumps, to make it a new viable leisure industry.

In 2010/2011 the BWB had a revenue of £176,500,000 with total assets of £676,900,000 andon 2nd July 2012, under the Cameron government, all British Waterways’ assets and responsibilities in England and Wales were transferred to the newly founded CRT.

All assets owned by CRT are considered ‘protected assets’ , but the actual legalities of charities and trusts in fact makes it easier to sell.

All land transferred to CRT in 2012 was ‘to be held permanently for the benefit of the public’.

Regardless of this, CRT have been busy bringing in developers to ‘adopt’ CRT land, with big corporations buying up water side sites for private developments in the future. This has happened at Limehouse with a 380m stretch of the Lea on the Bow Free Wharf going to ‘Vastint’, the developers’ branch of furniture giants IKEA. The Birmingham network and the ‘Icknield Port Loop’ saw CRT and Birmingham Council working in collaboration to secure planning consent on a massive swathe of public land.

It is very difficult to see how selling these public assets and paying nearly three times the price for labour makes good business sense. To the more cynical amongst us it looks like it has been set up to fail; to be asset stripped with a view to privatisation.

Even those who still believe in CRT must see this as terrible mismanagement and a huge waste of funds.

So this begs the question; how does an institution, or our country for that matter, survive by selling assets to break even? The very simple economic answer is: it can’t.

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NBTA London Constitution

1. Definitions

1.1 “NBTA” and “the national” means the National Bargee Travellers Association.

1.1 “NBTA London”, “NBTAL” and “the branch” mean the London branch of the National Bargee Travellers Association.

1.2 The “Committee” means the committee of NBTA London.

1.3 “Member” means a member of the NBTA.

2. Decision making

2.1 Decisions of NBTA London shall be made by consensus wherever posible. Where consensus cannot be reached, decisions shall be made by 2/3s majority vote. The chair shall have the casting vote.

2.2 In any vote each Ordinary Member shall have one vote. Associate Members are not entitled to vote.

2.3 Every Ordinary Member shall be entitled to take part in the decisions of every meeting.

3. Officers

3.1 NBTA London shall appoint 4 Officers to the Committee.

3.2 Only Members are eligible for appointment as Officers.

3.3 Appointment of Officers shall be agreed by consensus of the General Meeting. Where consensus cannot be reached, decisions shall be made by 2/3s majority vote.

3.4 Officers shall be reviewed by the General Meeting at least every 18 months.

3.5 Officers can be recalled at any General Meeting by a consensus decision, or where consensus cannot be reached, by a 2/3s majority vote. An Officer who is recalled is not entitled to be included in the decision to recall but is entitled to present their case for continuing to be an Officer.

3.6 The functions of the Officers shall be Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

3.7 Until such time as a General Meeting can be called, acting Officers shall be appointed by consensus of a Committee Meeting.

4. Working Groups

4.1 NBTA London shall appoint Working Groups. A Working Group must comprise at least 3 Members.

4.2 A Working Group may be formed by:
a) resolution of the Committee made during a Committee Meeting; or
b) petition of at least 3 Members.

4.3 If a Working Group is appointed by the Committee then the resolution shall define the remit of the Working Group.

4.4 If a Working Group is formed by its Members then the petition shall state the remit of the Working Group.

4.5 Any Member is entitled to join any Working Group.

4.6 The purpose of a Working Group is to:
a) Carry out the decisions of the Committee Meetings within the remit of the Working Group;
b) Carry out the objectives of NBTA London within the remit of the Working Group; and
c) Advise the Committee Meetings in matters within the remit of the Working Group.

4.7 Decisions can be made by Working Groups if:
a) The decisions are within the remit of the Working Group;
b) The decisions are not contrary to decisions made at Committee Meetings;
c) The decisions are brought up at Committee Meetings for discussion and/or further decision; and
d) The decisions do not pertain to:
i) communications outside the NBTA; or
ii) the disbursement of funds.

4.8 Decisions of Working Groups shall be made according to the principles in Article 2.

4.9 Delegates
a) Each Working Group shall appoint a Delegate to the Committee to pursue their mandate.
b) Delegates shall be appointed by consensus or if consensus cannot be reached, by a simple majority vote.
c) A Delegate’s mandate shall last for one Committee Meeting. The same Member may act as Delegate for the same Working Group at more than one Committee Meeting provided their mandate is renewed by the Working Group.

5. Committee

5.1 The Committee shall comprise:
a) The 4 Officers: Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary and Treasurer
b) 1 Delegate mandated by each Working Group
c) 1 Delegate from the national Committee

6. Meetings

6.1 Working Group Meetings
a) Working Groups shall convene when their Members deem it necessary.
b) Working Groups may discuss, organise and make decisions via Mailing List and are encouraged to do so.

6.2 Committee Meetings
a) NBTA London shall aim to convene Committee Meetings monthly. There shall be a Committee Meeting at least once every 3 months.
b) The purpose of Committee Meetings is to:
i) ensure the decisions of the General Meetings are being carried out;
ii) ensure the branch is functioning; and
iii) co-ordinate the Working Groups.
c) Decisions can be made in Committee Meetings if the decisions are not contrary to a decicion made at a General Meeting.
d) A decision of the Committee is not valid unless there is a quorum of 3 members of the committee.

6.3 General Meetings
a) NBTA London shall aim to convene General Meetings annually. There shall be a General Meeting at least once every 18 months.
b) NBTA London shall give at least 1 weeks notice to NBTA London members of a General Meeting.
c) A decision of the General meeting is not a valid decision unless there is a quorum of 3 Ordinary Members.
d) A General Meeting shall be inquorate unless it is attended by the Chair, the Treasurer and the Secretary.
e) Motions to be made at a General Meeting shall be in accordance with Article 6 of the NBTA Constitution.

6.4 Extraordinary General Meetings
a) NBTA London may convene an EGM when one is deemed necessary. An EGM may be requisitioned by:
i) the Committee + 1; or
ii) petition of a minimum of 10 members.
b) An EGM may be called as a result of:
i) resolution of the Committee made to that effect during a Committee Meeting; or
ii) the receipt by the Committee of a properly formulated petition.
c) If the EGM is called by the Committee then the resolution shall define the scope and subject of the EGM.
d) If the EGM is called by petition the petition shall state the purpose of the EGM.
e) An EGM shall be held within 1 month of the calling of the EGM.
f) An EGM shall be convened in accordance of the principles of 6.3, but confined to the subject matter of the scope of the EGM.

7. Mailing Lists

7.1 The organisation of the branch shall be facilitated by Mailing Lists.

7.2 The current “News” Mailing List shall be for the purpose of communication with interested non-Members.

7.3 The current “Organisational” Mailing List shall be for the purpose of communication with Members.

7.4 A new “Committee” Mailing List shall be set up for the purpose of discussion and organisation among the Committee.

7.5 A new Mailing List shall be set up for each Working Group, for the purpose of discussion, organisation and decision making among the Working Group.

7.6 Any Member shall be entitled to join any Mailing List.

– The main roles of NBTA London right now are as follows;

Chair– send out suggested agenda to email list 1 week before the nbta London meeting

-check minutes of nbta London meeting and send them out to email list

-book meeting room

-make sure NBTA London tasks get done

Secretary – Check emails which NBTA London gets and deal appropriately

Membership officer– add in new members to gmail account, texting phone and email lists appropriately

-take people off list appropriately

– try to find where we can involve members in more stuff

Treasurer – collect and keep account of NBTA London money

-send a report of the money we have at least one day before nbta London meeting

-to do payments for NBTA London

Communication officer– Advertisement of our events on Facebook a week before and a day before the event

-Advertisement of our events on our email a week before the meeting

-Update website of next meeting

Send texts for events one day before the event, sometimes also a week before the meeting as well.

Fund raiser -to organise collecting money at our events and do crowd funding etc