In protest, the National Bargee Traveller Association London (NBTAL) organised a ‘Forage for Facilities’ event today to highlight the shortage of water, waste and rubbish disposal points on the London canals.
There were 8 boats in total, with about 40 attendees. The event took place in West London today starting at Old Oak common and involved an expedition of boats, decked out in banners and bunting, hunting the elusive facilities that have been promised by CRT since 2013. The flotilla travelled for five hours, with no facilities in sight. Between Little Venice and Bull’s Bridge there is only one water point for boaters without a home mooring to access.
A recent report by a group formed by CRT and some London boaters called the Better Relationships Group, has found that 4,000 boats, or approximately 8,000 boaters, are sharing 15 working taps and five toilet and rubbish points in the greater London area.
A spokesperson for the NBTA London said:
“After travelling five hours we didn’t find any water points, rubbish disposal facilities or anywhere to empty our toilets. The lack of facilities in this area means that we are unable to fulfill our basic needs without travelling unreasonable distances.
This forces us to live in a way that is comparable to living conditions in third world countries. With CRT’s new draconian demands to travel a minimum distance per year, boaters are being forced to inhabit places that are thoroughly lacking in facilities.
Overall there is a general lack of facilities at a time when there are more boaters, who are paying more money to CRT and seeing no response to demand in return.”