Question to Council from Ruth Anderson

British Waterways Act 1995 and legislation

13001272_10154109484641823_3859012240336300617_nMy name is Ruth Anderson. I am a residential boater on a Local Agenda 21 mooring in Oxford. I work for Oxfordshire County Council as a Senior Traffic Management and Control Engineer. My work involves the management of the highway network during incidents, roadworks, events such as the Oxford Half Marathon and adverse weather. During adverse weather events, such as those that closed the Abingdon and Botley Roads in Oxford, I am often required to come into the office outside of normal office hours to ensure there are appropriate skills available. I am representing the PSPnO campaign.

Members of the boating community have been struck by a recent undertaking by the Canal and River Trust to spray messages on the towpath at Isis Lock referring to a polite zone. Given the draft of the proposed PSPO specifically states “No person shall tamper with waterways habitats, signage, lifebelts, fencing or other waterways infrastructure” this seems to be a particularly ironic campaign by CRT and I can’t help but wonder what Oxford City Council’s input on this has been.

I remember a couple of years ago when the TV show Great Canal Journeys visited the Oxford Canal, and the presenters Timothy West and Prunella Scales were scathing about the graffiti around the canal in Jericho.

Given that a council officer acknowledged shortly before the recent Scrutiny Committee meeting, where this PSPO was on the agenda, that he was not aware of the British Waterways Act 1995, which is the basis on which the Canal and River Trust manage their Waterways, would the Council agree that there is a fundamental lack of joined up thinking between the two authorities, and what plans are there to ensure that no local legislation attempts to override full Acts of Parliament?

Written Response from Councillor Sinclair

The Canal and Rivers Trust are fully aware of the draft PSPO. The Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is a piece of primary legislation that allows for the implementation of a PSPO to tackle behaviours that are nuisance and detrimental to the public.

Summary of the verbal response given by Councillor Sinclair at the meeting

She was not aware of the Canal and Rivers Trust’s work.