To vote in the 2017 General Election, register by 22nd May

Bargee Travellers who want to vote in the General Election on 8th June 2017 can register to vote by declaring a local connection. You need to register by 22nd May. Anybody who does not have a fixed or a residential address can register this way. However you cannot register to vote online if you are declaring a local connection.

Here is the voter registration form to download and use anywhere in England and Wales Electoral Registration Generic NFA

Send the form by post to the Electoral Registration Officer of the local authority where you have declared a local connection. You will find the Electoral Registration Officer’s address on the local authority’s web site and at the nearest library. You don’t need an address to vote; you can use the electoral registration office’s address for mail relating to elections, such as voting cards, and collect these in person.

RBOA calls for waterways authorities to break the law

After RBOA press release; http://www.rboa.org.uk/continuous-cruising-a-new-approach-from-the-rboa/

NBTA London’s response;

Residential Boat Owners’ Association (RBOA) seems to want all waterway authorities to act beyond the British Waterways Act 1995. Their online statement states that the ‘RBOA is well aware of the inadequacy of the British Waterways Act 1995 in providing a legal framework covering continuous cruising’. We can see why RBOA thinks this from their online statement; they want to redefine navigation in the same way the Canal and River Trust (CRT) want to include an element of distance for boats without a home mooring as a gauge of navigation. RBOA states an example of using distance as a gauge of navigation by saying they would be in favour of boats without a home mooring completing a ‘progressive journey’ ‘that would equate to 200 and 300 miles per year’. This is why RBOA thinks that the 1995 Act isn’t good enough.

The RBOA’s preference for a 200-300 mile distance comes from a place of prejudice. Prejudice against working people who are travelling boaters; against bargee traveller families; and boaters who are physically or mentally ill, as opposed to those boaters who use the waterways as a place for their hobbies or leisure who may have a boat as a second home. The waterways are a place for a range of people and they are not just for a certain kind of person.

The RBOA’s statement talks of London (and Bath) having too many boats; and a dislike of boats without home moorings ‘with having lifestyle connections with one place – for example: education of children, employment or health needs’. This is very telling of the intentions for their envisioned rules. Their intentions are to get rid of a sizeable part of the boaters without home mooring community.

RBOA seems to have no interest in the law, not just the 1995 Act but the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 states that equality adjustment should be made by bodies as such as CRT for people with health needs in order to address unequal opportunity. To demand that all waterway authorities should act against people without home moorings that need to be in a certain area because of health needs is a demand that waterway authorities should break the law under the Equality Act 2010.

The NBTA is against demands for more rules on boats without a home mooring and if these demands are left unchallenged, it would encourage waterway authorities to push off a sizeable part of our community off the waterways. We will need to keep a watchful eye on CRT and other waterways authorities who want to use this as an excuse for any changes to enforcement which puts more pressure on boat dwellers without home moorings. NBTA will act against any increase in enforcement.

Boat Dwellers refuse to be kicked off the waterways

The national Boats Are Homes; demonstration on Saturday 8th April 2017 was organised in defence of the boat dweller community in face of Canal and River Trust (CRT) threatening or actually evicting boat dwellers for their distance or pattern of movement.

Saturday’s march had a strong and diverse turnout of 150- 200 boat dwellers including families, couples, individual boaters and their drums, chants, whistles and loud-halers from all over the waterways. The demonstration was lively and angry with a strong sense of solidarity and feeling like we can make a change.

We handed in the petition against CRT’s intensified enforcement to Number 10, Downing Street. Nearly 35,000 signed the petition. We then marched on further to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to hand in a letter demanding that the Government takes responsibility in stopping CRT enacting what we believe is an unlawful CRT enforcement policy. People spoke from different parts of the waterways, and we were unified not only by a sense of countrywide boat dweller community, but also by the general threat to rid the waterways of boat dwellers. Oxford boat dwellers spoke about their successful campaign to stop the Council’s plan to effectively make our way of life a criminal offence in Oxford. The demonstration was mainly focused on the CRT actions to threaten or actually evict boat dwellers from their CRT managed waterways. One of the most virulent campaigns against the intensification of the CRT enforcement policy is the easing off of the effects on boat families and to allow their children equal access to school. This is a key reason why so many boat dweller families came to the demonstration.

Many believe that the heightened enforcement from CRT has a direct correlation with CRT’s continuing gentrification and privatisation of the waterways.

The coming together of boat dwellers from all over the country for a common purpose gave confidence and enthusiasm to many of the people attending to take further actions in defence of our community.

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More public towpath set to be taken in Paddington

In Paddington (London) CRT is planning to turn 140ft of the public towpath
moorings into private business moorings that would be run by multi-billion
real estate investment company, British Land. This is just the latest
example of the gentrification of our waterways.

British Land made a profit of £1331 million last year. Its property
portfolio was valued at £14.66 billion according to its most recent annual
report(2).

Protesters have tied up their boats to the moorings where British
Land plans to take 140ft of the public towpath with its two new 70ft
business boats. British Land already has an 80ft business boat near to
where they plan to put the new boats.

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Protest continues at the east London’s gasworks

In Tower Hamlets in East London, CRT wants to take away the public
moorings at the Gasworks (Corbridge Crescent) near Broadway Market as part
of its ongoing gentrification.

The Gasworks moorings have been used as public moorings by all boaters for
many years. However, CRT is set to turn them into private moorings for so
called ‘affordable’ moorings. Which for many boat dwellers, isn’t
affordable.

The Gasworks moorings are on a historic wharf and if privatised, many
boaters will never have the opportunity to use them.

For the last 5 weeks protesters have had their boats on the Gasworks
moorings, keeping them public on a rota of no more than 14 days each.

One protester boat dweller Graham Ryder, said:

“Our heritage is being taken away and sold off by stealth everywhere. It
makes me angry and I feel like we have to do something before our
community is broken up and sold off. The community that is already here is
well loved by the public and an integral part of the landscape. I won’t
stand by and watch whilst they sell off what we all already own.”

Gasworks

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