Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Canal & River Trust comes under fire

Boater satisfaction with the Canal & River Trust has fallen sharply, with the East and West Midlands performing relatively better than all other areas of the network.

Live-aboard boaters, whether they are continually cruising or moored, are significantly less likely to be satisfied than leisure boaters.

The results are from the Trust’s annual boaters’ survey in which approximately a third of boaters shared their feedback.

The Trust looks after around 2,000 miles of inland waterways across England and Wales.

Boater satisfaction has fallen to 46%, down from a peak of 76% in 2017 and from 54% in 2023.

The Trust says it is ‘greatly concerned’ to see the fall in boater satisfaction and is committed to doing whatever it can within its means to provide boating customers with the experience and service they expect.

Among the drivers for the dissatisfaction were poor upkeep of waterways, rising fees and equitable charging between licences.

Key areas

Boaters also felt the Trust was not listening to them, communication could be improved and in addition, the Trust was not prioritising spend effectively.

“We recognise that a number of factors may have contributed to this decline in satisfaction – amongst them the number of stoppages due to the impact of the flooding that we experienced for several months in the winter, the increase in licence fees, and last year’s issues with grass cutting,” said the Trust in a statement.

“We acknowledge that we need to do things differently to respond to your concerns, notwithstanding the challenges of climate and funding that will continue. There will be some key areas for us to focus on.”

And the Trust says it will now focus on the basics of general upkeep and maintenance of the canal network and keeping essential facilities in good working order.

Communication will also be more effective.

However, the Trust warned that while it will do what it can to deliver improvements, extreme weather will have an effect on the network as will the reduction in government grant.

The Trust looks after around 2,000 miles of inland waterways across England and Wales.


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