Victor: No winter maintenance spend published

Published: Sunday, 01 December 2019

IT IS usually around Autumn that Canal & River Trust tells of its forthcoming winter maintenance spend, but this year—ner a whisper!

We were told it was £38 millions for 2018/19, but search as I will I can discover no figure for this 2019/20 spend, though CaRT usually delights in telling of the many millions it is going to spend 'to keep the waterways in good condition'.

We are usually told way before December yet I gather winter maintenance is in progress.  Mind you, from the rather short list of works published there is not much of it, so this may explain the non-disclosure—it's obviously down again, so much in fact, that CaRT prefers to keep the figure to itself.

It has been dropping for years, from the £50 millions in 2013 and less and less every year since, which gives us a good idea for the lack of information, for with all the spending on other things one could easily reason that there is not a lot left in the kitty for mere maintenance. 

One thing is for surenext season's boating will be 'interesting'...

Labour takes over

So without appearing to be in any way political, that dear Thomas will not allow, I don't reckon much to Labour nationalising the waterways, for having had experience of nationalised industries, I can tell you—impossible as it may seemit will be worse.

Administration will go through the roof with many more offices created and there will be a dis-origination as  never believed.  Don't believe me?  We built our first narrowboat at what was the many acres of offices created at the outset of the National Coal Board at Bolsover for administration of just one area alone, even though each individual colliery managed on its own and did very well, thank you very much.

At the demise of the nationalised industry those offices were either demolished or taken over as local industries—the shell of our first boat being created by a small steel fabricating company that had set-up business in the former Bolsover Colliery yard.

So better the devil you know!

It's just mud

CaRT has conjured up yet another new word for its Stoppage Notice dictionary!  It's 'siltation'!

What it refers to of course is mud.  The stuff that rain brings off the hillsides, particularly off the many cuttings into the canal, made up of soil and rotten vegetation.

But 'mud' was lost in the distant past with it being replaced by the more favoured 'silt', but with a new upgrade to 'siltation', that sounds better still.

Silly buggers! 

Fancy that

I was most surprised at our esteemed Editor actually referring to other publications with:  Perhaps what would help would be if other waterway publications would take up the cudgels on behalf of the boaters instead of pandering to CaRT's ever increasing output of propaganda, but alas there would then be no lucrative CaRT advertising, so independence is forsaken...

This from one who allows no one to comment on other publications, bringing to mind our old James Henry who was actually banned (though since forgiven!) for continuously complaining of Waterways World passing on readers' letters/emails to the then British Waterways for comment.

Referring to James Henry who is still contributing, perhaps I should mention that this month another fella has been blacklisted—the first since James some 17/18 years ago.  I won't go into details, but take the opportunity to show that if you have something you want to comment on, there is every chance it will get acknowledged and published.

Would make a difference

The Sheffield & Tinsley Canal we are told had to be closed at Lock 12 and so was inaccessible to boaters due to the build-up of 'debris' but contractors will eventually be along to clear it.

Which leaves me to wonder just how quick it would have been cleared if this same 'debris' had made the towpath inaccessible?  Fairly pronto I should imagine...

And where did the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal come from?  The Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation was opened four miles from the city centre in 1751, and it was not until an Act of Parliament was obtained to create the Sheffield Canal a navigation from Tinsley to Sheffield in 1815, that was opened in 1819...

Victor Swift