Explained: the no mooring sites in ‘safety’ zones

Have you ever wondered what the ‘no mooring’ sites in the ‘safety’ zones” are all about? 

What are CRT trying to say to justify them, and which sites are NBTA London challenging and why? 

In this document we answer these questions *and more*.  

As well as hashing out the main arguments, we have throughly, concisely and clearly laid out each area which CRT are trying to ban boats from in the ‘safety’ zones. 

The document states CRT’s position and shows NBTA London’s counter argument to each of the sites which we are challenging. 

It’s very useful to help understand the ‘safety’ zones better. It’s not only very pretty, but also a must read!’ —> view pdf


NBTA Boats are homes protest outside CRT’s London offices

NBTA London needs your support to carry on our work. Please get in touch here if you would like to volunteer with us. Alternatively your donations are vital to us supporting boaters with their legal case work, campaign banners and other printed material as well as events. You can help us with your donations online here

Moorings threatened in Harlesden

The green space in Harlesden, which is many boaters’ most popular West London mooring, is being gentrified by developers in tandem with the mayor’s office. The ‘regeneration’ claims to be creating a ‘boaters’ paradise’, but will involve replacing the grass verge with mooring rings (which are easy to remove in the future) and will take away 3 visitor mooring spaces which will be replaced with ‘community boats and a canoe pontoon. Because the canal to the East and West of Harlesden is too shallow to moor on, this reduces capacity in Harlesden by approximately 20%.

Towpath in Harlesden (Image by diamond geezer/Flickr)

Apparently as a compensation measure, the developers are installing an elsan and water point at the West end of the stretch, but we remember that CRT promised us facilities years ago. So, in reality, these moorings spaces are being taken without any compensation measures being made. This is yet another example of CRT working with developers behind our backs and to our detriment.

While the NBTA have objected to the planning proposal, we are considering the next steps we should take to fight for the moorings.

If you would like to get involved in this, please email nbtalondon@gmail.com  to let us know that you want to help. 

For more information about the development, see here: 

https://consult.opdc.london.gov.uk/harlesdencanalside


NBTA London needs your support to carry on our work. Please get in touch here if you would like to volunteer with us. Alternatively your donations are vital to us supporting boaters with their legal case work, campaign banners and other printed material as well as events. You can help us with your donations online here


Meeting at Mayor’s office

On 14 March 2022, NBTA London had a meeting with  Deborah Halling, Senior Policy Officer, Housing and Land GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY about NBTA Pan London Needs Assessment For Boat Dwellers Without A Home Mooring.

In the meeting, which was requested by Deborah Halling, NBTA reminded the Mayor’s office of the relevant excerpt of the existing policy for itinerant boaters, including that it was imperative for the Housing to talk direct with NBTA rather than CRT with regard to number of boats without a home mooring, and what the needs are for boat dwellers without a home mooring. We informed her of CRT’s continued reduction of mooring spaces, of CRT’s refusal to have a consultation until NBTA put pressure on CRT to do so. We also explained some basic mooring terminology, and why “bookable” moorings should not compromise existing towpath mooring spaces.

CCing boats on the Regents Canal, Islington visitor moorings (Image by Marc Barrot/Flickr)

We suggested that planning could have some weight with developers in ensuring that mooring spaces in the developed area are not taken away or restricted for boat dwellers without home moorings, for example; furthermore, simple and inexpensive facilities could be encouraged to be installed (water taps, secure boaters bins/recycling) alongside land residential facilities.

In follow-up emails after the meeting the question of grants for boat dwellers without home moorings for solar panels (thus reducing emissions whilst moored) has also been raised.

Deborah Halling was apparently committed to continuing talks with NBTA about Pan London Needs Assessment For Boat Dwellers Without A Home Mooring.


NBTA London needs your support to carry on our work. Please get in touch here if you would like to volunteer with us. Alternatively your donations are vital to us supporting boaters with their legal case work, campaign banners and other printed material as well as events. You can help us with your donations online here


CRT’s skewed spending

It is possible to see the priorities of an organisation by what they spend their money on. On London waterways, CRT spends more money on enforcement than on boaters’ facilities.

The cost of wages & equipment for Licensing Support Officers and Rangers and Mooring Rangers in 2020 was roughly £371k. Additionally, from October to the end of December CRT spent £24,840 on the District Enforcement in ‘safety’ zones. CRT has budgeted an extra £180k for District Enforcement for this year. Enforcement isn’t the only thing they like to spend their money on. 

For 2020 Stuart Mills, the Investment Officer, received a salary and benefits totalling £236,936.  CRT also paid the head of CRT, Richard Parry, a salary and benefits totalling,£226,346.  It cost CRT £463,282 for just two salaries in one year. 

We we’re unable to calculate how much the CRT executive team costs in total as the two salaries mentioned were the only ones published, there was no data for the rest of the team, so we can only imagine! However, in the same year CRT spent only £350K on boater facilities on the London Waterways. 

So to recap, the figures are as follows: 

£395K for enforcement on London Waterways
£463K on the salary and benefits of just two staff at the CRT executive team
and just £350K on boaters facilities on the London Waterways.


NBTA London needs your support to carry on our work. Please get in touch here if you would like to volunteer with us. Alternatively your donations are vital to us supporting boaters with their legal case work, campaign banners and other printed material as well as events. You can help us with your donations online here


Stop the boat cull, help needed

Stop the boat cull campaign and NBTA London need funds. We are doing a crowdfunder below but we also need help fundraising. Please email nbtalondon@gmail.com saying you would like to help us fundraise.

For the crowdfunder (which charges a 2.9% fee + 25p on each donation) here: https://gofund.me/20394ebd

To make sure all your donation goes the campaign/ NBTA London and not crowdfunding company, donation straight to our bank account:

National Bargee Travellers Association London

Account number : 32390422

Sort code: 23-05-80

NBTA London has been relentlessly campaigning to stop the boat cull. Our continuous pressure has managed to get the Canal and River Trust (CRT) to back down on a proportion of the boat culling ‘safety’ zone’ plans.

Yet CRT is still implementing the ‘no mooring’ areas of the ‘safety’ zone plans, which unfairly reduces the number of moorings. On top of this CRT has further plans to impinge on boaters by turning 120 mooring spaces into 40 new chargeable moorings and developers are trying to reduce mooring spaces in Harlesden.

Our way of life is under threat from the barrage of boatee bashing from CRT and co. We must continue to take on their agenda of ridding of us from the waterways. But it takes money to do this, from campaign leaflets to the informative newsletters, banners and placards, amongst many other things.

Please donate as much as possible and help ensure that we are a community that cannot be flushed away.

You’re also welcome to get involved in the campaign:

Stop the boat Cull!

Donations anything upwards from £5 upwards

£10 would cover the cost of the online meetings and caseworker’s phone number for one month.

£20 will pay for 200 posters

£25 pays for month rent on the shared office space

£40 will pay for 200 newsletters

£70 pays for a printed campaign banner for a boat

Trigger Parry’s Broom

Anyone who takes the time to read Canal and Rivers Trust’s (CRT) regular cure for insomnia – the Boaters’ Update – will know that the Trust likes to go on about how they are in charge of a 200 year old system, naturally giving the impression that they are doing an outstanding job of it. But this raises a couple of questions – can the system really be called 200 years old, and are they doing an outstanding job?

Have you ever thought about how old everything really is? Take for example one of the most iconic pieces of canal infrastructure – locks, and in particular lock gates. Lock gates have a life span of…25 years, so you definitely won’t be using any 200 year old lock gates in the near future. The same goes for the towpaths which now support a lot more traffic than the original towpaths were designed for (the Regent’s Canal towpath goes all the way back to…1979)…and the metal armco piling which holds the canal in… definitely not 200 years old. I’m sure you can think of other things. It really is Trigger’s Broom from the British comedy, Only Fools and Horses made real! (“with 17 heads and 14 handles; how can it be the same broom” …)

Damage at Toddbrook Reservoir Dam

But what about where truly old things need looking after? Well CRT are bigging-up their impending work on the Toddbrook reservoir dam in the Peak district. The dam was completed in 1840. In 2016 one of the spillways, which had been added in 1970, started to collapse following a week long deluge of rain. The reservoir was full to the brim and the town of Whaley Bridge had to be evacuated for six days as the 80 foot tall dam – which held back over one and a quarter billion litres of water – was at risk of breaching. While the poor design and build of the spillway was central to the collapse, CRT’s poor maintenance and reporting systems were identified as major contributory factors. Of course, no mention of this is made in your latest Boaterzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Update.


NBTA London needs your support to carry on our work. Please get in touch here if you would like to volunteer with us. Alternatively your donations are vital to us supporting boaters with their legal case work, campaign banners and other printed material as well as events. You can help us with your donations online here


Hundreds Attend NBTA Hackney Protest Picnic

Hundreds of boaters, local residents and land-based supporters turned out on Sunday 26th of June to attend the National Bargee Travellers Association’s (NBTA) Hackney Protest Picnic in a continued show of resistance to the Canal & River Trust’s (CRT) ongoing attacks on the capital’s liveaboard boating community.

The picnic, which began at midday and ran into the late afternoon, was held on Walthamstow Marshes opposite the Anchor and Hope pub. On a day lit by glorious summer sun, the capital’s boating community came together in a joyous show of solidarity and celebrated their life on the water with conversation, live music, mural painting, refreshments and a vegan BBQ. With hundreds in attendance, the event was a chance for local, land-based residents to learn more about boaters, and to hear from the NBTA about the attacks that their community has sustained from CRT over the past few years, as well as the lively and ongoing campaigns to preserve their way of life that have grown up in response.

Marcus Trower, NBTA London branch secretary and one of the event’s organisers said: “London’s boater community has endured years of attacks on their way of life from the CRT – everything from unlawful attempts to evict boaters from their homes to the current Water ‘Safety’ Zones that will drastically restrict boaters ability to live and work around the River Lea. This Protest Picnic is an opportunity to not only draw attention to the issues that boaters are facing from the CRT, but to also celebrate our unique community, way of life and contribution to Hackney’s own rich public life. Those of us that have moored in Hackney consider spending time here to be an essential part of London’s boating culture, and one of the joys of making our lives on water; we’re looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible to Walthamstow Marshes to celebrate that fact with good food, music, conversation and continued solidarity for our fight against CRT’s boat cull.”

With the CRT recently rowing back on commitments to consult with boaters about the removal of moorings in so-called ‘Water Safety Zones’ on the River Lee, the Protest Picnic comes at a time of uncertainty for many boaters, many of whom have been harassed with enforcement notices and threatened with eviction from their homes. Sunday’s celebration of boater life was the latest in a series of events which protest against the CRT’s plans to drastically cull the number of casual moorings across London, and demonstrate the strength and vibrancy of the liveaboard community whose lives these plans will negatively impact. In April 2021, a flotilla of boaters made its way through Broxbourne to raise awareness of CRT’s attacks in the local community and in June 2021 a similar flotilla protest through Hackney drew thousands of boaters and supporters alike. In March of this year, hundreds of boaters and supporters marched on the CRT’s main office in Little Venice to explain how these discriminatory policy changes are threatening people’s livelihoods and intentionally pricing boaters out of their homes.

Ian McDowell, chair of the London branch of NBTA explained some of the reasons behind boaters continuing resistance to the CRT’s plans: “This continued disregard for the people who live and work in these new ‘no mooring’ and proposed paid-for mooring areas drives boaters away from their livelihoods, and out of their homes. By ignoring its responsibility to preserve the waterways for all communities, CRT is crossing a dangerous line that could see London Waterways and other waterways become usable only by those who can afford any extra costs CRT chooses to introduce in addition to the licence fee. Their actions only serve to show that while CRT markets themselves as a charity that promotes wellbeing, they repeatedly try to introduce policies which attack boaters’ wellbeing and way of life.”

This event was part of NBTA’s campaign against the CRT Water Safety Zones.

Land-dwelling local residents enjoy vegan hotdogs with members of the boating community at the 26/05 Protest Picnic: picture by Helen Brice

Gentrification of London waterways: CRT’s chargeable moorings policy will price boaters out

CRT would like to start charging ‘extra’ for Towpath Moorings. Normally your licence includes the right to moor on any towpath without extra charge. CRT would like to turn 1.1km of London’s regular towpath into new ‘Chargeable’ Moorings that would cost an additional £84 extra a week. Why? Because CRT believes financially excluding people from these moorings will somehow make them ‘fairer’. Boaters who can afford it will be able to reserve themselves a guaranteed mooring space, at the expense of less wealthy Boaters who will find their mooring opportunities significantly reduced.

Proposed chargeable mooring sites along the London Canal Network

In reality this would financially exclude many residential boaters without a home mooring from 1.1km of the mooring space they rely on for their livelihood. Much like every other CRT Policy, this prioritises Leisure Boating over Residential Boating – CRT have no actual adjustments in any of their strategies that actively support itinerant, residential boating. Perhaps there is a question here – do CRT believe that holidays are more important than homes? Most worrying of all, evidence suggests that these new chargeable moorings will often remain empty and unused.

Paddington Basin, one of the chargeable mooring locations. Pic by Nick Sarebi, Flickr

CRT have conducted an online survey about their ‘Chargeable Mooring’ plans – unfortunately their survey is invalid for the following reasons:

CRT’s survey is invalid because it claims a Pilot Chargeable Mooring Scheme they ran was a great success. In fact, it was only used 25% of the time – the rest of the time it remained empty and unused.

CRT’s survey is invalid because it is based on CRT creating new regular towpath moorings – to replace the ones being annexed off for wealthier boaters. A Freedom Of Information Request revealed that CRT does not know where these ‘replacement’ regular moorings will be. Historically CRT have promised many new mooring spaces that have not materialised – so if CRT do not know where these ‘replacement’ moorings will be, effectively they do not exist.

Boaters in 2017 tried to stop the Gasworks offside mooring in Bethnal Green from becoming private ‘paid’ moorings

CRT’s survey is invalid because it initially misinformed participants that only 40 regular towpath moorings would be lost to this ‘Chargeable’ mooring scheme. Due to another Freedom Of Information request they later had to amend these false figures mid-survey to 1.1km. This could amount to 120 regular mooring spaces being lost, so this survey was initially based on a false premise.

CRT’s survey is invalid because it is filled with coercive questions that force participants to suggestively agree to things they do not. The question ‘How many times a year should you be allowed to moor on a Chargeable Mooring?’ does not allow me to disagree with the whole concept in the first place – one can only hope that CRT does not ‘cherry-pick’ their data.

CRT’s survey is invalid because when it suggests introducing a ‘no widebeam double mooring’ policy it misrepresents the facts. London’s canals are some of the widest in the country. There are many places throughout London’s canals where you can double moor onto a widebeam and leave an enormous amount of space for navigation. The impact of removing this double mooring capacity will be vast. Yet again – the survey is based on a false premise.

Angel is another proposed site for chargeable moorings. Pic by Alan Firkser

So where does that leave us? A poorly constructed, invalid survey about a poorly conceived scheme, based on falsehoods and prejudice. No Equality Impact Assessment to demonstrate how this will affect family/residential/disabled/older/financially disadvantaged boaters (CRT have promised to conduct one – but only once the scheme is effectively a done deal). Then there is the strange assertion that making something financially prohibitive will somehow make it fairer (- for whom?).

It feels like history is repeating itself. Yet another policy aimed at debilitating the Itinerant Boating Community, founded on a swamp of misinformation, without any form of proper consultation – in particular, no consultation with those it will impact the most. Surely in any proposal worth its salt you would conduct an Equality Impact Assessment before presenting it to the general public – otherwise you risk promoting discrimination… unless, of course, that is exactly what you intend to do.

Regents Canal through Central London.

And let’s not lose sight of the door that is being opened – one where CRT can charge whatever it likes, for any towpath mooring, anywhere. This new CRT Policy could in fact be a step-by-step guide on how to make a public asset financially exclusive.

_______________________________________________________________________________

NBTA London needs your support to carry on our work. Please get in touch here if you would like to volunteer with us. Alternatively your donations are vital to us supporting boaters with their legal case work, campaign banners and other printed material as well as events. You can help us with your donations online here

Join us at our Community Summer event at the end of this month. We are having a picnic at the Walthamstow Marshes on Sunday 26th June 2022 – 12pm start. Click here for more details

The Safety zones continued…

As many of you know, when the CRT first proposed the full details of the Water “Safety” Zones, we calculated that 550 mooring spaces would be lost in Broxbourne and Tottenham/Hackney. In some places the CRT also proposed introducing a ban on double mooring and wider boats. Following the magnificent efforts of the boating community to push back against these “Safety” Zones, CRT initially appeared to desist from their implementation, in favour of a navigation forum of stakeholders. Unfortunately the CRT are still attempting to impose potentially the most draconian part of the original “Safety” Zones outline – the new no mooring sections. We now estimate that 295 casual mooring opportunities are at risk. 

A CRT ‘Safety Zones’ No Mooring sign covered over with a black bin bag in Hackney on the lower Lea

In October of last year the CRT lied to us by stating that they were putting the safety zones on hold, pending a discussion within the Lea Navigation Forum meeting. However, before the first Forum meeting had taken place, the CRT had already installed no mooring signs on most of the ‘no mooring’ sites on their Water Safety Zone map. We (NBTA London) brought this dishonest behaviour to the attention of the Lee Navigation Forum. CRT’s response was to disregard the dishonesty of their own actions which undermined the whole Lee Navigation Consultation. We asked for reasoning from CRT to why each of the no mooring spaces were made as such. CRT didn’t provide this. We then provided a document stating our opinion of each no mooring site at the very next meeting. More than half a year later CRT have yet to give a proper response.

During that half year, boaters moored in places that are perfectly reasonable and safe have continued to receive unjustified threats from CRT. In total, CRT paid £24,840 from October – January to a car parking company called District Enforcement (DE) to attempt to implore our community not to moor on these sites. Thankfully people continue to moor in these places in large numbers. CRT stated that on January 10th the enforcement of the no mooring zones would begin. During this time we began the process of taking the CRT to court in a Judicial Review. While notices and emails to desist were sent to boaters, hundreds remained defiant, many staying up to 14 days before being replaced by another resistant boater. In the CRT notices left by DE they state that the boater is moored contrary to British Waterways Acts, Bye-laws, Conditions, Guidance etc. To investigate what kind of legal standing CRT thinks they have, our solicitors asked them to qualify which specific Acts and Bye-laws relate to the no mooring sites. Even when asked again by the solicitors, CRT failed to provide any Acts or Bye-laws to support their stance. They were unable to provide these because the CRT has no actual legal leg to stand on.

Tyrone Halligan, Amelia Friend and their two year old son Isaac are house boat dwellers affected by the ‘No Mooring’ Safety Zones.

Our caseworkers have been providing boaters with replies to CRT enforcement letters around the clock. In response, CRT responses have been weak and deflective. After one particular email exchange where we sought to clarify the CRT’s stance in relation to the law, the officer ended one of their email with: “Anyway, I’ll leave it there for now. Feel free to get back to me if you have any other
questions I won’t be able to give a straight answer to.” This elusiveness hasn’t been exclusive to the legal side of the campaign, CRT’s public relations efforts regarding the matter are much the same. We have been successful in getting this campaign into wide range of press outlets. The CRT’s defensiveness includes refusing to quantify how many mooring spaces are at risk. Additionally, CRT have also spread untruths to the press, making ridiculous public statements such as, ‘enforcing no mooring sites does not have a negative impact on our community.’  

Boaters continue to resist by mooring alongside some of the ‘No Mooring’ Safety Zone sites on the lower River Lea in Hackney

The boating community are continuing to resist the implementation of the ‘no moorings’ in the safety zones, yet CRT continues to waste money trying stop the resistance. CRT can only afford to waste so much money and incur so much bad press before they are forced to defer to our position on these ‘no mooring’ spaces. However for CRT to back down it will take our community’s continued resistance until CRT does.

Brief update (08.06.2022):

CRT have responded to the NBTA’s document outlining our position on the “red zones no mooring sites within the safety zones”. They have announced a reduction of no mooring restriction by a total of 157 metres. These include near or under pedestrian bridges and a few other places, often just an extra metre here or there. You can read CRT’s full response here

NBTA London needs your support to carry on our work. Please get in touch here if you would like to volunteer with us. Alternatively your donations are vital to us supporting boaters with their legal case work, campaign banners and other printed material as well as events. You can help us with your donations online here

Join us at our Community Summer event at the end of this month. We are having a picnic at the Walthamstow Marshes on Sunday 26th June 2022 – 12pm start. Click here for more details

Event: Hackney Picnic Protest

Early in 2021, CRT announced that they would be restricting moorings along 10km of the river Lea, claiming that mooring in these ‘Water Safety Zones’ was unsafe.

The NBTA, together with the London boating community, fought against these so-called water safety zones. First, we organised the Broxbourne flotilla in April. Then, we organised Hackney Flotilla in June, which was attended by over a thousand people. CRT were forced to listen to ask boaters’ opinions, then ignored what we had to say. 

Now, we face the extra threat of payable moorings in central London, but we continue to resist CRT and fight to protect our nomadic lifestyle. 

There will be….

Live music from:

Erawan
https://open.spotify.com/artist/35PL1PsXUdbIqb0diiC3Fm…

Harry Mold
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1GtPWIvZN0uXjki01eVmn4…

Liam Bokser
https://youtu.be/CbdKj6b3ouc

CeCe
https://www.tiktok.com/@mp3…/video/7086508208335916294…

&

Donal Denver

We’ll also be putting on a vegan BBQ and refreshments plus more additions to be announced!

Hopefully we’ll get a lot of lovely sunshine and a lot of lovely faces so bring yourself, your friends and the family and let’s show CRT that life isn’t ‘better by water,’ but on it!

Picnic starts Sunday 26th June at 12 noon on Walthamstow Marshes, opposite the Anchor & Hope pub.

https://fb.me/e/1GsbNxLfs

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