A big thank you to the members and marina berth holders who responded to the
club's request for comments on the management of the Trent Trent and issues
we all face.
I met with the East Midlands Director and the Operations & Communications
Manager for CRT in the East Midlands on Monday 16th August to discuss the
state of the River Trent and its facilities whilst covering all points in
detail that the club members and marina berth holders provided.
Maintenance of locks. This is an issue for CRT based on available funding.
Current approach is to try and keep the locks in service where possible
without having to close access during the boating season. Gunthorpe and
Nether Lock are top of their list to survey once the boating season has
finished to resolve the ongoing issues we have been experiencing with a
robust rectification programme to be put in place over winter 2021/22. Nether Lock
features in the CRT Winter Works Programme as does Newark Town Lock that I
recently shared. I am awaiting confirmation that Gunthorpe will be added to
that list too.
The delay in the past couple of years to have these locks accessed and
rectified has been due to priority, severity of faults and available
I have suggested that CRT alter their stoppage messaging to include details
of the issue and include timescales of work required to be completed to
ensure boaters are fully aware and can plan current and future trips around
potential closures. This I have already seen in the recent stoppage notice
issued on Gunthorpe.
Silting & Depth Issues. The River Trent in 2022 will have a dredging plan
and resources allocated for all locks and known depth issues. This includes
the bottom side of Newark, stretch between Nether Lock and A1 bridge as well
as Stoke and Hazelford Lock. The process will begin with a survey boat
travelling the length of the River Trent from Nottingham Steps to Cromwell and
on to Gainsborough.
Manning of Locks. CRT are working to address this problem, recently the number
of volunteers available has reduced sharply due to a number of issues
including long-term illnesses, deaths and abuse from boaters. CRT find
themselves in a vicious circle but have approximately 6 new volunteers going
through training along with redistributing excess volunteers from Sawley to
other stretches of the River Trent bottom side of Nottingham where possible.
Onboarding of volunteers is a slow and painful process to meet their
insurance providers risk assessments etc.
Closure of Facilities. This has been predominantly due to vandalism and
liberties taken by fishermen and some boaters resulting in high service
costs. These are currently under review.
Media Campaign. CRT is aware that boaters are feeling left behind due to
recent media stories and adverts aimed toward Life by the Water on the
canal network. Their response is to engage more with boat clubs directly in
the same way that RYA does. This includes Q & A sessions between FBC and
CRT Management; the meetings will be advertised in advance for all to attend.
These meetings need to be proactive and not result in a witch hunt to ensure
a partnership between FBC and CRT remains productive.
Gravel Barges. I raised the issue of CRT assets blocking key mooring points
topside of Newark and topside of Hazelford lock. CRT agreed to review how the
gravel barges are moored and to introduce a change to the lock keepers
reporting to include these barges as part of their daily incident reporting.
CRT will look to introduce chaining of these barges where required when
moored in densely populated areas i.e. topside of Newark Lock to prevent them
from being untied and left blocking the waterway.
As a result of that meeting, communication channels have now opened between FBC
and CRT and a partnership will slowly be built to provide boating related
guidance to CRT on the future management of the River Trent.
I firmly believe having regular communication with CRT will result in boaters
having a better experience on the River Trent going forward. I already have a
second meeting with CRT in September to follow-up on our initial meeting.
Please feel free to contact any of the committee members to discuss any views
you may have with the clubs newly formed partnership with CRT.
Farndon Boat Club
m: 07801 107 927
Your flag officers are there for you, please do not hesitate to contact any
of the flag officers to discuss concerns, ideas or general advice.