E is for eco, F is for FAIL

CRT and Islington Council’s much vaunted green washing project is not going smoothly…

In the first half of 2018, Canal and River Trust (CRT) and Islington Borough Council (IBC) announced their intention to introduce  “eco” moorings either side of the Islington Tunnel on the Regent’s Canal. Despite CRT and IBC both admitting that boaters had a negligible effect on emissions compared with the hundreds of thousands cars, lorries and buses which pass nearby every month, this did not stop them from proposing the banning of generators & engine running  and, after a 2 year trial period, the banning of burning even smokeless fuels.

While Paul Convery, a Caledonian ward councillor and mouthpiece for anti boater feeling in the area, saw the scheme as addressing the specific concerns of canalside residents, the council and CRT were soon presenting the scheme as a “pilot”, although for what exactly they seemed unsure or unwilling to say.

In the original plan, the scheme was supposed to start in October 2019. But in two meetings held by CRT in September 2019, one with organisations & interested parties and the other with boaters, it became clear that this was not going to happen, and the CRT PR machine continues to be eerily quiet on the subject even now.

It also became clear that the whole scheme, which sought to solve a problem which doesn’t exist, had been planned on the back of a fag packet.

While the scheme was going to be assessed after 2 years before the solid fuel ban was to be introduced, the success criteria given by IBC spokespeople was nebulous to say the least, despite persistent pushing for clarity; whether the moorings would be bookable or not had not been decided; whether the electricity would be charged through the MeterMac system used on CRT long term moorings or some other system had not been decided; the distance between the electricity bollards was still up for discussion; the requirement for 32A supply, which an effective electrical heating system would need, and the safety implications of this had not even been thought about.  But in hindsight most of these points remained moot as the CRT project management team had still not been able to agree an extension of the mains electricity supply to the towpath. At the time of writing – more than 2 months after the scheme was supposed to start – this still hasn’t been agreed.

But these technical matters are a distraction from the real crime of the eco moorings: that they will exclude a large number of boaters from being able to moor here. In the meeting with boaters, the IBC project manager came up with ideas about how they could help boaters upgrade their boats to meet the requirements to moor; but all of these ideas were around the technical advice they could give on how best to spend several thousand pounds. When challenged on what they could do to avoid the social exclusion of boaters, she just gave a blank stare, as did CRT.

The eco moorings are seriously at risk of becoming moorings for single night stays and the increasing number of ghost boats, neither of which need to run their engines to charge batteries or heat water, as well as boaters for whom money is not a serious problem and who are willing to be nudged into changing their boats at huge expense. Despite their sheepishness, this is how CRT see the future of boating in the capital. Unless we challenge their green washing now, gentrification by stealth will begin whenever the scheme finally starts.

The future is green; the future is shiny.

 

 

 

Vote Dave in the CRT council elections

This year Canal and River Trust (CRT) is running elections for the CRT council.

CRT council is an advisory board for CRT but also appoints CRT trustees. Liveaboard boaters without a home mooring are seriously under-represented on CRT advisory boards. So we are supporting one liveaboard boaters without a home mooring to be elected onto the council.

When CRT opens the polls, please vote for Dave Mendes da Costa.

With 34 people standing for just 4 posts, it’s more likely Dave will get elected if you just vote for Dave and no one else.

Here is a quote from Dave Mendes da Costa for the CRT council election;

‘I have been living on my narrowboat Stellar for six years and have had the pleasure of exploring many of the UK’s canals. Our waterways offer a unique opportunity to travel and live in a different way and I want to protect this way of life for everyone. I believe this means keeping the navigation open and in good condition, and challenging the reduction of Trust staff with the knowledge and experience needed to maintain the waterways. It means taking steps to reduce crime on the towpath (taking inspiration from London’s Canal Watch initiative) and increasing the quantity and quality of boaters’ facilities. It means cherishing our heritage by keeping the canals a living environment. I’m an active member of the community, chairing the NBTA London branch in 2017 and volunteering as a caseworker. As chair, I helped set up the Lea Boaters Collective, a coalition of local organisations who came together to hold the EA and the Trust to account following their slow response to a large oil spill on the River Lea. If I am elected to the Council I will bring this experience of successful cooperation, representing all boaters and working to improve, renew and restore our waterways.’

Eligible voters will receive an email from the Civica Election Services (CES), the Trust’s elections partner, containing a link to the elections portal and instructions on how to cast your vote.

If you have not received an email from the CES, please check your junk email folder. Alternatively, please contact council@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

Please vote Dave!

Winter Warmer 2019

Its a great event for itinerant boaters to eat, drink and be ‘merry’ together, socialise and openly talk about defending our homes in a warm and friendly environment.

All boaters are welcome to come and cook with us, as well as bring their own dishes. We will start cooking at 5pm, please join us.

Thursday 5 December at 7pm at London Action Resource Centre 62 Fieldgate St, London E1 1ES

The venue is off a road on Whitechapel Road, between Aldgate East tube and Whitechapel tube

Please get a free ticket here,http

://www.bit.ly/nbta2019winter warmer headline

 

The Newspeak of Sharing

Everyone is up for sharing the waterways, and in particular the towpath, right?
We certainly are, and sharing is a common mantra of the Canal and River Trust (CRT), and organisations such as the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), when they introduce new policies or propose changes in towpath usage. Given this, you would think that sharing the towpath would be an area of common ground. But when you compare what we mean by sharing and what they mean, it becomes clear that it never can be.

As boaters in general, and itinerants in particular, we have the established right to moor on the towpath for up to two weeks and then move on to another place for up to another two weeks and soon. We use the towpath as our home and then move, leaving that space free for someone else. While we are moored up, other people -walkers, cyclists – are still free to use the towpath; and still others -anglers, duck feeders, canoeists launching their boats etc – are free to use unoccupied towpath to pursue these activities. The space is being shared in a common way by a myriad of people.

Sometimes – OK, quite often in London – we aren’t able to moor in the particular place or area that we may want to; and so it goes for the anglers, duck feeders and canoeists. In other words, we have a common (if often atomized) experience of what is a shared, common space.

But that isn’t what CRT and its friends at the IWA think the future of sharing should be. To them, sharing the towpath shouldn’t be a common, shared experience, but rather an individuated one; and to this end we are seeing more and more partitioning of the towpath.

Whether it be the London Mooring Strategy’s dedicated pop up mooring spaces, prohibited mooring in watersports zones, increased permanent business moorings and further developed winter moorings, or the IWA’s Vision for London’s mooring free spaces to improve the visual experience and increased limited stay visitor moorings, the language of sharing predicates a partitioning of what should be a common space. In this version, sharing is done at the expense of a group of users (normally itinerant boaters). With each guarantee for a particular group to use a space, at least one other group is denied the ability to use it.

So the next time CRT and its friends start talking about “sharing” and “fairness”, just think about who is going to lose out in the sharing newspeak equation.

Andrzej Evicted

Andrzej from the boat commonly called ‘the Caravan Boat’, has been evicted by the Canal and River Trust (CRT). CRT sent over 10 enforcement bailiffs and CRT staff members with two RIBs and two police officers to evict Andrzej. Barring him from retrieving his belongings, including his work tools, CRT towed his boat and craned it out at Bulls Bridge (West London) before transporting it 200 miles to Cheshire.

It was 2 months before we were allowed to retrieve what remained of his possessions, and due to CRT’s legendary incompetence, some 80% of these had suffered water damage.

Andrzej had applied for a licence for his boat; he had up-to-date boat safety; insurance and he was using his boat for navigation and intending to carry on navigating. Therefore, we believe CRT has broken the British Waterways Act 1995 section 17 where it states our right to not be refused a licence. We have started the process of challenging CRT refusing Andrzej a licence.

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Stop eviction at Chess mooring

Sadie who skippers for the Pride of Batchworth and a local scout leader is under threat of eviction from her mooring at the Chess Basin by Waterways Heritage Limited for her boat not being ‘smart’ enough.
It started when waterways charity Canal and River Trust (CRT) which owns most of the England’s inland waterways leased the moorings to private company Waterways Heritage Limited.

 

Sadie was raised on her boat at the Chess Basin moorings. Sadie has been on the mooring for 34 years. It was her mother’s boat which was built on the mooring with the intention that it would stay on the mooring. In fact the boat is too high for travelling on the canal. Her boat is unable to be moored anywhere else.

 

Waterways Heritage Limited told Sadie that the mooring rent would go up from under £3000 to more than £8,500 per year. After much thought about how much less Sadie would have to live on per year, Sadie agreed to a new tenant’s agreement with Waterways Heritage Limited. However, Tim Woodbridge, the director of Waterways Heritage Limited, refused Sadie.

 

Within months of his lease of the Chess Basin, Woodbridge had cut down trees and levelled the environmentally friendly garden, replacing it with turf. Ahead of a new hotel being built on the old Travis Perkins site, he then issued eviction notices to Sadie and another tenant who has a narrow boat there.

 

Sadie has told us that:
“This has been absolutely devastating. I bent over backwards to meet every demand from Mr Woodbridge, but he clearly had his own agenda after taking over the lease from CRT.

 

“My mother had Hibiscus built here, and being here and looking after the boat and the garden is part of honouring her memory. I have no idea now where I will go or what I can do.”

 

Ali Rawlings was a resident at the Chess Basin moorings until she got a termination notice:
“I came into the basin 6 months ago as a temporary measure as I needed to sort some things out in my personal life. I was told I could have a permanent mooring when the improvements were made. My mooring was fenced, I was given a shed and a lawn was laid.

 

“Then out of the blue I was given a termination notice. I was told to pack up and leave within 6 weeks.

 

“I was told if I blacked and painted my boat and made it look smart I could reapply to go back. The cost would then be doubled. I will not be painting and blacking my boat as in my opinion it is not necessary.”

 

Please email Waterways Heritage Limited and ask them to not evict Sadie: info@waterwaysheritage.co.uk
Also please email CRT to demand that Waterways Heritage Limited doesn’t evict Sadie:
roz.rothwell@canalrivertrust.org.uk
If you want to be involved in this campaign to stop Sadie being evicted please email: nbtalondon@gmail.com.
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‘Pop up’ trade moorings

NBTA London proposes a solution for ‘pop up’ trade moorings which it believes could benefit roving trade boats without negative effects on other boaters, and support the ideal that that towpath is for all boaters to use.

In the Canal and River Trust’s (CRT) London Mooring Strategy, CRT proposes pre-bookable ‘pop up’ moorings for trade boats for a ‘short time’ on the towpath at Kings Cross. It isn’t clear if other boaters would be able to use the mooring space when it’s not being used by trade boats, nor is it made clear how long a ‘short time’ is. CRT hasn’t indicated if they are planning to charge for these ‘pop up’ moorings.

If a charge is levied on trade boats for the use of the mooring this will disadvantage poorer traders and give CRT a great incentive to turn yet more towpath into permanent business moorings. It would give an elitism of mooring with people paying the trade premium to access desirable moorings whether they trade or not.

If other boaters cannot use the moorings when they are not being used by trade boats, or if the moorings are more than 14 days, this would disadvantage other waterways users and make them no different from any other business mooring.

NBTA London believes that all waterways users should be able to use the towpath, be it for living, leisure or trade. We are therefore proposing that
where pre-bookable ‘pop up’ trade moorings are proposed by CRT, they are no longer than 14 days, not chargeable, and allow other boaters to use them
when not being used by trading boats. Trade boats should have priority on the ‘pop up’ moorings, so they could ask someone who is already there to move but it must be reasonable.  A trade boater shouldn’t be able to just turn up late in the day and tell someone to move on, for example; clear signs at the mooring space would be good to give prior warning of the booking.

NBTA London vows to fight all business moorings which disadvantage other waterways users, particularly permanent towpath business moorings. We are therefore organising a march to CRT’s London offices, rally, party and flotilla on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th of May.
For more info check our website:
https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/paddington-party-protest-rally-and-flotilla/

Update Andrzei anti-eviction campaign

The Andrzei enforcement case is said to be no longer being dealt with by the local enforcement officer and regional enforcement manager. This after Section 7 of the British Waterways act 1983, which lays out the process in which the Canal and River Trust (CRT) must do before claiming a boat is unsafe, was brought to their attention. Both CRT enforcement staff claim to have no knowledge of this section.

Andrzei’s case was then passed on to the CRT legal team for a internal ‘review’. At the end of this ‘review’, CRT is no longer saying his boat is unsafe; they are now just relying on a court judgement from 2017. The court order is to remove Andrzei’s boat from their waterways for being ‘unlawfully’ moored. For Andrzei, English is a second language and he didn’t make his case to the court. He put his licence in his girlfriend’s name and CRT was happy with movements of the boat, giving it a winter mooring. It was licensed until CRT revoked the licence, claiming the boat was ‘unsafe’.

Andrzei, with up to date insurance and Boat Safety Scheme Certificate, is able and willing to use his boat for navigation and has sent in a new licence application form. So far CRT is still saying they are going to evict.

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Email CRT to change their minds in evicting Andrzei

lucy.barry@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Leiam.Walsh@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Simon.Cadek@canalrivertrust.org.uk

richard.parry@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Here is a template email:Template email to stop eviction 2

If you’re happy to be called upon to try to stop CRT evicting or if CRT tries to take his boat, please email nbtalondon@gmail.com your number and we will tell you when CRT turns up. Many people have already said that they will come and support Andrzei; however we would like as much support as we can get.

Also if you are between Paddington and Watford and you see CRT enforcement officers and/or tugs which are used for evicting boats, please text and tell us which way they are heading. The number is; 07459354163

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He has moved it about 7 miles in the last three weeks and many more miles are planned.

 

Here is the story before the update: htt://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/boat-dweller-threaten-with-eviction-urgent-help-needed/

Boat dweller threatened with eviction. Urgent help needed

Certified gas engineer and boat dweller, Andrzei, has been given an eviction notice by the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and is under immediate threat of eviction.

He is on the boat commonly called ‘the caravan boat’, which is a WW2 landing craft onto which he has skillfully welded and fixed a mobile home. He constructed a platform at the stern and mounted an outboard engine as well as reducing the air draft so it can go under many of the bridges in the system. His boat is a fully mobile boat home.

CRT is claiming the boat is unsafe despite him being a certified gas engineer and having an up to date Boat Safety Scheme Certificate. The boat safety exam was done by trusted boat safety examiner, Pete Wakeham, late last year.

It seems that prejudice has ushered CRT to call Andrzei’s home unsafe. CRT deciding a boat unsafe despite having a Boat Safety Scheme Certificate could be a slippery slope, which could see CRT think it can label any uniquely made vessel as unsafe.

We shall not let his hardworking man be made homeless by CRT.

Together we can stop this eviction.

Please email CRT to change their minds in evicting  Andrzei.

Email:

 Leiam.Walsh@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Simon.Cadek@canalrivertrust.org.uk


richard.parry@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Here is a template email Template email to stop Andrzei eviction

If you are on the Grand Union main line or Paddington Arm or just in the general West London area and you’re happy to be called upon even to just film when CRT tries to evict him, please email nbtalondon@gmail.com your number and we will tell you when CRT turns up.

Please spread the word and get support to stop this eviction

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Andrzei on his boat holding his Boat Safety Certificate
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Andrzei’s boat

 

A volunteer organisation formed in 2009 campaigning and providing advice for itinerant boat dwellers on Britain’s inland and coastal waterways