CaRT is avoiding its Freedom of Information responsibilities

Published: Saturday, 29 June 2019

THE Freedom of Information Act is the most useful weapon available for obtaining information from those that prefer not to divulge. 

Yet Canal & River Trust is more and more refusing applications for information that it obviously would rather not be made public.

Stopped in its tracks

Many of you may remember the investigative waterways publication The Floater that was stopped in its tracks as CaRT refused to act on any further of its Freedom of Information requests.

The problem being that Alan Richards, using such Freedom of Information requests was letting too many cats out of the bag, discovering inadequacies over a wide spectrum that CaRT would rather people were not aware of and particularly its exaggeration of such as maintenance spend that went on year after year.

We now learn that CaRT is making a mockery of Freedom of Information requests from The National Bargee Travellers Association, its response to requests being that it was 'awaiting response', 'awaiting classification', 'overdue', 'long overdue' or simply 'refused'.  In other words it was not complying.

An example is the repeated denials and refusals by the Trust to respond to Freedom of Information Act request by the Association, concerning the Trust's 'illustrative cruising patterns' for boat dwellers without home moorings' for school age children, the Association discovering the information by other means.

Realising then why the refusal—the Trust's cruising patters were illegal! The government had stated that the  maximum walking distance a child can undertake to school at two miles, Canal & River Trust set it illegally at over three miles.

It is time that Canal & River Trust was brought to book over its dereliction of the Freedom of Information Act requests, as it obviously is not complying.

To see the many 'excuses' purveyed by Canal & River Trust to The National Bargee Travellers Association: