CRT makes minor concessions on Boat Licence Terms and Conditions

CRT has made minor changes to the new Boat Licence Terms and Conditions (T&C) in response to the NBTA’s Pre-Action protocol letter of 31st May 2021, but has not altered its position on the major issues challenged by the NBTA.

CRT has agreed to revert to the 2015 wording of Clause 5.4 (this is Clause 4.1 in the old 2015 T&C). Instead of:

“Boats without a Home Mooring or ‘Continuous Cruisers’ Boats:
5.4 You must Cruise on Our Waterways in accordance with Schedule 1 [ie Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring] and the British Waterways Act 1995.”

the wording will revert to:

“You must cruise in accordance with the British Waterways Act 1995. The Guidance for Boats without a home mooring is contained in Schedule 2 and sets out the Trust’s understanding of what is required to comply with the British Waterways Act 1995.”

The NBTA objected to the initial wording of 5.4 on the grounds that it sought to give a guidance note, the ‘Guidance For Boaters Without a Home Mooring’, the same status as an Act of Parliament.

CRT also admitted that two clauses were included in the 2021 T&C in error. Clauses 4.3 and 10.10 have been removed; the NBTA objected to Clause 10.10. These were:

4.3: You must provide details of persons Using the Boat at any given time upon request.

10.10: The Boat must not display an association with, or advertise, any company, business or service without Our express consent in writing.

CRT has stated that it will not remove Clause 5.1, Clause 10.11 or the altered wording on page 1.

Clause 5.1 places extremely onerous  requirements on boaters with a home mooring:

“You must travel on a journey when You are away from Your Home Mooring. Your journey should be a genuine journey. It should start and end at Your Home Mooring. It does not have to be over a certain duration, distance or range, or follow a single direction. It cannot contain short, repeated movement in a small part of the Waterway for an extended period, unless You return to the Home Mooring between repeated trips. Each time You leave Your Home Mooring You start a new journey.” CRT claims that Section 43 of the Transport Act 1962 empowers it to impose these requirements.

Clause 10.11 appears to extend the scope of the 1995 Act by demanding a specific type of insurance for towing, over and above what is required by Section 17(3)(b) and Schedule 2 of the Act.

The changed wording on page 1 separates the Standard Canal and River Licence into two categories, effectively creating a new licence called a “Continuous Cruising licence” and calling a boat licence with a home mooring a “Pleasure Boat Licence” whereas a Pleasure Boat Licence should be able to be obtained either with or without a home mooring. This appears to be an attempt to re-interpret Section 17 of the British Waterways Act 1995.

The latest version of the new T&C, dated 15th June 2021, is online here, but the T&C have not been updated in line with CRT’s assurances detailed above.