Shares in Drifters Leisure Limited

Nick Brown made this Freedom of Information request to Canal & River Trust

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Canal & River Trust,

Please provide me with the information listed below:

1. A copy of the resolution by the Board of British Waterways authorising the purchase by British Waterways of 10 shares of £1 in Drifters Leisure Limited, Company Registration number 02972938 ("Drifters"). In the alternative, if a resolution was not passed by the Board, a copy of the legal device authorising British Waterways to purchase shares in Drifters.

2. A copy of the resolution by the Board of British Waterways confirming the appointment of Sally Ash as the nominee of British Waterways as a Director on the Board of Drifters. In the alternative, a copy of the legal device by which her appointment as Director of Drifters was authorised by British Waterways.

3. A copy of the minute by the Board of British Waterways confirming that the holding of shares in Drifters by British Waterways does not constitute a conflict of interest with its status as navigation authority. In the alternative, a copy of the legal device confirming that the holding of shares in Drifters by British Waterways does not constitute a conflict of interest with its status as navigation authority.

For the avoidance of doubt this is a requisition under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Brown

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

Dear Mr Brown,

Thank you for your e-mail and request for information we received on 30th July 2012.

We are reviewing our files to identify information relevant to your request and will respond to you as soon as possible or in any case within twenty working days.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
Canal & River Trust | The Kiln | Mather Road | Newark | NG24 1FB | Tel 01636 675 740 | [mobile number]
Follow the Canal & River Trust’s Customer Service team on Twitter http://twitter.com/CRTContactUs
Please visit our website to find out more about the Canal & River Trust and download our ‘Shaping our Future’ document on the About Us page.

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Sarina Young, Canal & River Trust

Dear Mr Brown,

Your requests are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of Drifters and British Waterways’ (and now the Canal & River Trust’s) involvement in it, so we will explain this in order to put our response to your specific requests into context.
Drifters is a small marketing consortium set up by British Waterways and the hire boat trade after the recession of the early 1990s. There was concern at that time that the number of hire boats would decrease dramatically and that there was not enough publicity about canals and boating in the press. Drifters does not manage any hire fleets. Its activities form a very small component of individual hire companies’ marketing plans. In relation to CRT, its turnover and share capital are both immaterial, and the nominal value of BW’s/CRT’s shareholding is just £10. Over the years Drifters has conducted successful PR on behalf of the industry and created a mechanism for companies to group together to provide attractive sales promotions. All these have helped to bring new people to the canals which has contributed indirectly to the funding of the waterways through channels such as lease income from marinas and boatyards and to the viability of these business on whom all boaters depend to some degree . The hire industry is also important to the Trust because it is one of the main points of entry for boat buyers, who become our long-term customers. Drifters’ role in this is not large, but it is worthwhile.

Drifters does not pay any of its directors and is run just to cover its costs. It makes no payments to British Waterways/Canal & River Trust, neither does it receive any payment. There is absolutely no conflict of interest in Sally Ash’s position as a director of the company – a position which she holds on behalf of the Canal & River Trust, not in any personal capacity. In carrying out her role as Head of Boating, she is expected to listen to and communicate frequently with representatives of all relevant interest groups. Hire operators are just one of these, and typically, she spends more time in dialogue with private boater representatives than with hire operators.

Turning now to your questions, because of the size and limited significance of Drifters to British Waterways, there was no requirement within the governance structure for directors to obtain approvals or resolutions from the Board of the type you suggested.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
Canal & River Trust | The Kiln | Mather Road | Newark | NG24 1FB | Tel 01636 675 740 | [mobile number]
Follow the Canal & River Trust’s Customer Service team on Twitter http://twitter.com/CRTContactUs
Please visit our website to find out more about the Canal & River Trust and download our ‘Shaping our Future’ document on the About Us page.

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