60 London boats on restricted licences and 25 boats seized as CRT’s enforcement policy begins to bite

60 London boats on restricted licences and 25 boats seized as CRT’s enforcement policy begins to bite

Simon Cadek, London Enforcement Manager gave a presentation at the CRT London Canal User Group meeting last Wednesday 15th April. A LNBTA member was present and made notes. The slides containing the figures will be available soon on the CRT website, but in the meantime here’s the lowdown. If I am not quite sure of the exact figure I have put a question mark next to it.

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From my notes the figures where – out of 150? new first year licences coming up for renewal this year – 19 where given 3 month restricted licences and 41 given 6 month restricted licences. ‘Restricted licence’ is the exact term CRT used.

Also – 12 boats have been seized in London since January and 25 are about to be and (according to Cadek) “a lot more are heading that way.” No information was given as to why the boats were seized – whether its non cc ing, no licence or other BUT he did say that 371 boats in London are currently “in the enforcement process for non cc- ing” and 20? for overstaying.

The ‘restricted licences’ are a temporary measure “while boaters get used to the new policy”, so I asked what happens after the temporary measure? Will boats get any warning or will they just get their licences refused? Cadek answered – “boaters will always be warned before we remove their licences.”

Also from the meeting – a Little Venice resident had a go at the IWA representative because the jazz music stage on the pontoons next to the island at last year’s Canalcade killed all the baby swans nesting on the island.

Just to reassure you – no baby swans at all were killed during the making of Sunday’s London Bargee Traveller Association’s Towpath Gathering at Vickie park/regents canal.

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Towpath Gathering aims to protect and celebrate London boating community

Towpath Gathering aims to protect and celebrate London itinerant boating community

In the face of increasing pressure on the London towpath boating community, the London National Bargee Traveller Association (LNBTA) are holding a Towpath Gathering by the Regents Canal in East London’s Victoria Park on Sunday 19th April from 12pm.

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The Towpath Gathering will both raise awareness about the threats to the London boating community and celebrate the diverse and vibrant London towpath life. It will also bring together local communities in a fun, family friendly day that gives people the opportunity to take part in creative activities as well as talk to boaters about their way of life.

This is both an open air meeting and event that celebrates the boating community; giving people an insight into this community. Music, performance and talks will be provided by boaters themselves along with a floating marketplace featuring local trade-boats for people to step on the water and experience life aboard.

The event will have floating stages and stalls with music, poetry, arts and crafts, and will also be an opportunity for boaters, supporters and local residents to meet and discuss the Canal and River Trust’s draconian new enforcement policy and the refusal of full licences for boaters it deems “not to have moved far enough”.

A spokesperson for the LNBTA said:

“As legitimate and licenced boaters who live on their boats by the towpath, our way of life is currently being threatened as the Canal & River Trust have plans to impose draconian new changes to their enforcement policy. Under the new scheme boaters who are arbitrarily deemed by CRT to be “not moving far enough” are refused one year licenses and instead put on a costlier three or six month trial license unless they comply with new rules about moving within a range of “further than” 15 to 20 miles in the course of a year.”

“These new demands and enforcement process go beyond the CRT’s legal powers which are set out in the legislation. The British Waterways Act states that boats must move each 14 days but does not impose any distance or pattern. In forcing these new rules the CRT are attempting to extend the scope of their legal powers and establish a new precedent.”

“The fears are that the distance enforced on could be increased incrementally and threaten the viability of itinerant boaters who live by the towpath yet need to stay within the London area for work, school, college or family and caring commitments.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

Event: The Towpath Gathering.

Date/time: 12pm Sunday 19th April 2015.

Location: Towpath near Canal gate entrance to Victoria park

If you wish to cover the event, or if you would like to be sent high resolution photographs and a release with quotes and comments after it has happened then see below for contact details:

Contact Details:

The London National Bargee Travellers Association (LNBTA)

General info: nbtalondon@gmail.com

For further info on the new licence and enforcement policy, check out the London NBTA fact and advice sheet  on:

https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/fact-and-advice-sheet-regarding-enforcement/

The National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA)

A volunteer organisation formed in 2009 that campaigns and provides advice for itinerant boat dwellers on Britain’s inland and coastal waterways. This includes anyone whose home is a boat and who does not have a permanent mooring for their boat with planning permission for residential use.

NBTA General Meeting

This meeting is to decide what the NBTA does in general.

This will be on the Saturday 21 November at the Quaker Meeting House, 150 Church Rd, Watford WD17 4QB (near Watford
Junction Station). Registration starts at 9.30am, the General Meeting ends at 6pm. There are going to be breaks in-between, including lunch .

If you would like to come to the General Meeting, please book a place as soon as possible by emailing secretariat@bargee- traveller.org.uk or phoning 0118 321 4128. We need to keep the venue informed of the numbers so please let us know in advance if you wish to attend.

Further travel directions etc. will be sent out on booking.