NATIONAL BARGEE TRAVELLERS ASSOCIATION
Policies are numbered as follows:
Policy C1: Policy on CRT Licensing
The NBTA believes that the test for compliance with s.17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 is whether the boat has remained longer than 14 days in any one place without having a good reason to do so and therefore any boaters who meet that test for compliance are within their rights to have a full 12 month CRT licence.
Policy C2: Policy on Support of Boat-Dwellers in Enforcement
The NBTA supports, as much as it is able, boat dwellers who are defendants in actions relating to their home, even if the boat-dweller is non-compliant with the statute regulation or term upon which the action is based. The NBTA does this without endorsing the Boat-Dweller’s breach. Under normal circumstances the NBTA does not advocate breach of genuine legislation.
Policy C3: Policy on Restrictions on Bargee Travellers
The NBTA does not support any further restrictions from authorities on Bargee Travellers. The NBTA opposes any action by any authority that seeks to take our way of life from us. The NBTA believes in engagement by Bargee Travellers with the local land-dwelling community in a way that is as far as practicable proactive, constructive and does not antagonise the land-dwelling community.
Policy C4: Policy on Protecting Bargee Travellers’ Interests
The NBTA predicts that the Canal & River Trust will seek to develop its policy of setting a minimum distance for navigation within the scope of “bona fide navigation” as defined in s.17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 (the “CRT Policy”). The NBTA undertakes to execute the most strenuous efforts to stop this.
The NBTA undertakes to execute some or all of the following tasks or tasks in addition to the following:
1 Seek to challenge the Navigation and other Authorities’ Policy in the press;
2 Seek to disseminate the identity and policies of the NBTA in the press;
3 Engage in demonstration at places and in ways that may reasonably be assumed to come to the attention of the press;
4 Engage in press monitoring;
5 Engage with the press;
6 Monitor Navigation and other Authorities policy development and activities, both “on paper” and “on the ground”, and inform the press of Navigation and other Authorities activities;
7 Expose Navigation and other Authorities’ policy making as adverse to the Bargee Traveller community by:
(a) demonstrating the impact of Navigation and other Authorities’ policy on the boating community;
(b) develop policy statements that support Bargee Travellers; and
(c) seek the sign-off or other endorsement of NBTA policies by MPs, housing groups and other community groups to sign the statement
8 Seek mutual support from other groups including housing groups
9 Identify and engage with land-based interest groups to find common ground and develop mutual support;
10 Encourage NBTA members who are members of trade unions to use their memberships to leverage trade union support of the Bargee Traveller community;
11 Seek the ending of adverse policies of Navigation and other Authorities by challenge in the courts through:
(a) the encouragement and support of members engaged in litigation;
(b) engaging in action that is likely to bear fruit;
(c) support Bargee Travellers with advice in relation to specific measures to strengthen their position should they be drawn into litigation; and
(d) develop research in the field including parallel legislation;
12 Seek the ending of adverse policies of Navigation and other Authorities by:
(a) developing Member Volunteer Caseworker Training Sessions; and
(b) supporting caseworkers with the development of support materials;
13 Put pressure on Navigation and other Authorities through:
(a) attendance at meetings of Navigation and other Authorities, at which NBTA policies are promoted;
(b) seeking to intervene and mediate in Navigation Authority enforcement action;
(c) supporting Bargee Travellers, engaged in litigation, in liaison with legal representation including referral in the first instance;
(d) engagement in Bargee Traveller actions; and
(e) promote unity among all Bargee Travellers including supporting the development of resources for Bargee Travellers;
14 Foster and promote Bargee Traveller Unity through:
(a) encourage a sense of “can win” through seeking easier activity wins and demonstrating historic wins;
(b) engagement in collective actions to demonstrate ability for co-operative working;
(c) foster and encourage community events to bring the Bargee Traveller community together;
(d) develop NBTA membership numbers to increase capabilities; and
(e) increase the number of regional NBTA branches / groups.
15 Seek to persuade Bargee Travellers to fight together for our rights and for something better through:
(a) development of the NBTA newsletter and article dissemination to inform Bargee Travellers of what’s going on; and
(b) production of information and promotional materials to develop atmosphere of resistance;
16 Support resistance to land-side evictions so as to gain mutual support.
Policy C5: Mooring Spaces for All
1. The NBTA believes that land which is on at least one side of a waterway, which can be practically moored on by anyone (“Public Moorings”) should remain land to be moored on by anyone. NBTA believes Public Moorings usually means “towpath” (including where there is towpath on both sides of the navigation), but it may be on the offside, it may be privately owned, or it may have no identifiable owner.
2. The NBTA is opposed to Public Moorings being turned into private moorings.
3. The NBTA is opposed to the prohibition of mooring on Public Moorings.
4. The NBTA is opposed to authorities and private companies attempting to privatise Public Moorings or prohibit mooring on Public Moorings.
5. The NBTA will not help particular boaters to claim Public Moorings as their own private permanent moorings. Depending on the circumstances, the NBTA may decline to help boaters fight eviction from a given place where they have been moored for more than 56 days, unless fighting the eviction would benefit the community of Bargee Travellers in general. Taking up any such cases will depend on approval by three NBTA Committee members or Volunteer Caseworkers.
6. This does not rule out our help to particular boaters over other issues such as being evicted from the particular waterways they use.
7. The NBTA will never act as ‘towpath police’ nor be drawn into exerting ‘peer pressure’ on our own community, and the NBTA will not become involved in any enforcement against boaters under this Policy.
Policy C6: Bookable moorings
The NBTA believes that bookable moorings on the towpath are another way to take away the use of the towpath from everyone. The towpath should be shared with all and not reduced to only people that can book a mooring. The NBTA is against bookable moorings on the towpath but is willing to work with CRT to explore the possibility of making bookable moorings on the offside.
Policy E1: Unacceptable behaviour by e-mail
The NBTA believes that personal attacks and insulting other NBTA members or boat dwellers with whom we work is disruptive to the working of the NBTA. The NBTA will take action if this behaviour comes about.
Policy E2: Policy on Consultation
(a) undertakes to engage positively with consultation activities of Navigation Authorities and other Authorities on issues affecting Bargee Travellers;
(b) in the instance that an Authority seeks to impose its own policy about which it should have consulted but has not done so, undertakes to challenge the failure to consult and will engage positively in the submission of evidence to the Authority in any event; and
(c) undertakes to actively encourage NBTA Members to individually engage on the same basis.
Policy E3: Continuous Cruiser policy
NBTA does not refer to boat dwellers without moorings as ‘Continuous Cruisers’. However, we can use the word in our publications but only to refer to what another organisation, authority or individual has said.