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.

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