Canal towpath closures

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pwa
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby pwa » 11 Nov 2016, 11:15am

Richard Fairhurst wrote:Anyone who thinks the answer to improving cycling in the UK is to pave over 2500 miles of canal, rather than make the 214,000 miles of public road safe and welcoming for bikes... has a very strange set of priorities.

Robert Aickman, co-founder of the Inland Waterways Association and (with Tom Rolt) one of the two people most responsible for saving the canal system, was astonishingly prescient in seeing how unlimited motor traffic would ruin our country. In the '40s and '50s, he wrote splenetic pieces for the IWA Bulletin called 'Motor Moloch', imploring that something be done. Cyclists - and especially cycle tourers - should be fellow-travellers with canallers, not enemies.


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mercalia
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby mercalia » 11 Nov 2016, 11:18am

some people just dont have a sense of humour do they? :lol:

pwa
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby pwa » 11 Nov 2016, 11:29am

mercalia wrote:some people just dont have a sense of humour do they? :lol:


You are a very naughty wind-up merchant. I must get my Mum to slap your legs. :)

millimole
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby millimole » 12 Nov 2016, 9:16pm

pwa wrote:
The difference is, I suppose, that the waterways are generally maintained by money raised from the users, through licences. That's what pays for dredging, bank repairs, upkeep of locks and so on.


Common misconception.
Licence fees contribute a small amount to the coffers of CRT. The major income streams are from ground rent on land holdings (London & Liverpool docklands, including Canary Wharf), sale of water for industrial and farming use, the use of towpaths for fibre cables, and a huge annual grant from DEFRA. I've heard it whispered that collection of licence fees from boaters costs more than it raises!


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Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 12 Nov 2016, 9:42pm

I think there's some "towpath telegraph" exaggeration going on, as is the way of such things. The most recent figures I have to hand are:

  • Boat licences and moorings - £42.4m pa
  • DEFRA grant - £49.6m
  • Joint ventures and investments (including property) - £47.1m
  • Utilities/water sales - £26.3m
  • Charitable income (third-party grants etc.) - £20.9m
  • Donations and other - £3.4m

(It used to be my job to write about this sort of stuff!)
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millimole
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby millimole » 13 Nov 2016, 10:21am

So, the boat licences AND moorings contribute about a fifth of the total CRT income. Moorings could be half of that. So either way, licences contribute a small amount to the coffers of CRT, and the waterways are not (solely) maintained by money raised from the users, through licences.


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Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 13 Nov 2016, 11:40am

They are not solely maintained from that source, no, but £42.4m is a significant contribution by anyone's book, not a "small amount": and you can't disentangle licences from moorings, as much of the latter, even in commercial marinas, is paid to CRT on a per-berth basis as the connection charge. It certainly isn't the case that "collection of licence fees from boaters costs more than it raises".

In the age of Trump, it would surely be better if we could try and respect all those who use shared resources like this, rather than trying to stir up division between users.
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Postboxer
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby Postboxer » 13 Nov 2016, 1:38pm

How about slightly narrowing inner city canals, where needed, to allow a wider towpath, where it's not possible to expand it in the other direction. There seems to be lots of towpaths that could easily be improved, the Manchester Ship Canal could really do with a path alongside it into Manchester, the Bridgewater canal is getting better, but could do being a bit wider, a bit smoother would be nice too.

millimole
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby millimole » 13 Nov 2016, 4:49pm

Richard, it's not my intention to try to stir up divisions between users.
I find the sense of entitlement in some (certainly not all) boaters rather upsetting - the myth that their licence fee 'pays for the canals' is one I will not stand for. I sense there is a correlation between these boaters and the ones that do not want towpath upgrades (and resent fishing matches etc).
Theatre the ones looking to create divisions and create a waterways ghetto.

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Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 13 Nov 2016, 5:15pm

Oh, I agree, but there are selfish buggers in all walks of life. As a boater, I don't identify with the "I pay for all this" whingers any more than, as a cyclist, I do with the idiot roadie who cycles past our front door on the pavement at high speed every Sunday lunchtime. CRT are trying to steer a delicate course and, I think, doing it with great sensitivity.
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pwa
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby pwa » 14 Nov 2016, 3:55pm

To some extent the cyclists versus boaters is a false division because a lot of the boaters are cyclists, and vice versa. And both are probably trying to get away from road traffic. Canals were made for boats, and for me that means that the needs of the boats come first. The canal boats don't really have anywhere else they could go. But of course the towpaths are a great resource for cyclists too, and I can see no reason why both groups should not get on.

Having steered a narrowboat for several days this summer I got the impression that canals are generally just wide enough. Sometimes they can seem too narrow.

During my stint on a narrowboat I had to wait at a turning point while a man turned his narrowboat around, making a bit of a pig's ear of it. He got the bow stuck on a muddy bank at one point, then drifted awkwardly, blocking the canal. He revved the prop hard, churning muddy water. When he got into a heated argument with an angler, who called him a "muppet" I found it difficult not to laugh.

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Audax67
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Re: Canal towpath closures

Postby Audax67 » 14 Nov 2016, 4:00pm

As an aside, a few years back a chunk of the Saverne-Strasbourg towpath was closed for repairs and a diversion via a 5% climb put in. I had a great cackle at the striving burghers on their 16-kilo Panzerbikes straining & complaining & turning purple.
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