Robin Evans goes

Published: Thursday, 10 January 2013

THE resignation of Robin Evans as Chief Executive of Canal & River Trust just four months after it came into being demonstrates his lack of commitment to the new Trust, writes Allan Richards.

However, he is just one of several deserting a sinking ship. On CaRT's own admission, its predecessor failed to spend enough on its waterways from 2004 onwards thus eroding the significant gains made in previous years. The Trust's long term plan allows the general condition of our waterways to further deteriorate over the 15 years of guaranteed government funding. Little wonder those responsible for the debacle are leaving.

Lack of commitment

Thus far, we have three resignations from trustees, with two already gone. The third, of course, is chairman Tony Hales who announced his resignation back in April 2012. However, it now appears that the chairman's imminent departure is somewhat delayed because his chief executive has managed to beat him to the door. He has to stay to help choose a successor!

It all smacks of a lack of commitment to the Trust by its own officers and particularly the chief executive who has decided to leave some 10 months before he was due to retire anyway!

The poll

The publics' view of CaRT's management team was graphically illustrated by a snap poll in narrowboatworld just over a year ago which asked the question 'Should Evans, Hales & Co remain in Office when British Waterways becomes Canal & River Trust?'. Only 83 agreed that they should remain in office with a landslide 3,742 stating that they should go.

The result was shrugged off at the time with British Waterways claiming it was 'just narrowboatworld'. However, as we have seen recently, when Waterways World published an interview with Robin Evans, its readership responded by writing letters condemning him.

Of course, it is not 'just narrowboatworld', just as it is not Waterways World. It is public opinion which British Waterways and now CaRT have been unable to alter despite spending millions each year telling us what a great job they are doing.

Thank goodness that Robin Evans has finally had the decency to quit the sinking ship, but shame on Tony Hales for not doing likewise

The problem

The problem with British Waterways under Hales and Evans is that government got fed up with giving it money to improve the waterways only to see that money wasted on disastrous commercial ventures.

As CaRT now admits, our waterways have now been in decline since 2004 and will continue to decline over the next 15 years.

For the next financial year, based on figures its chief executive gave to MP's, CaRT needs to spend about £130m on its waterways to prevent deterioration from this years condition.

Its plan is to spend just £77.5m—less than two thirds of the amount needed.  And it has threatened us that it will reduce that amount unless we pay £1.5m to repair a breach, A breach that the trustees were led to believe would not happen.

The last word to Robin Evans from his 'leaving' Press Release:

"I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past ten years."