THE Canal & River Trust has announced a raft of initiatives aimed to benefit boaters and help manage the strain placed on the network in its London Mooring Strategy produced in consultation with boaters, boating groups and local authorities.
These include managing the increasing demand for mooring spaces, improving facilities, and fairly balancing the needs of everyone who uses the capital’s waters.
In 2018/19, the Trust will be making the following improvements:
- Water points:
- New taps at Harlseden, Sturt’s Lock (Shoreditch), Bow Locks, Alperton
- Improve water pressure at Paddington Basin
- Relocate tap from Old Ford to Sweetwater (Olympic Park)
- Waste facilities:
- New compounds at Harlesden, Feildes Weir (Hoddesdon), Stonebridge Lock
- Elsan (toilet) facilities:
- Carry out feasibility work to open an Elsan to the public on the Regent’s Canal
- Working with boaters and volunteers to install additional mooring rings
- Residential moorings developed at Millwall Outer Dock and Hayes
- Pre-bookable moorings developed in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on St Thomas’s Creek (up to two berths), and on the Lee Navigation adjacent to the Park (three berths)
- Clear signage for ‘watersports zones’ at Broxbourne and on the Lower Lee Navigation
- Improved information at noticeboards, welcome stations and front-of-house
Customer priorities for which the Trust hopes to secure funding in future years include:
- Development of 1800m of new long-term offside moorings, the majority of which, subject to planning permission, will be for residential use
- More mooring rings to increase 14-day mooring capacity
- Changes to short-term moorings to ensure the fairer use of space
- New facilities to meet growing customer demand, and improvement of existing sites
- Working with boaters to provide boating information and advice, as well as working with police to address concerns about towpath safety
- Creation of opportunities for boating businesses in key visitor destinations
- The introduction of further new pre-bookable visitor mooring sites following a review of demand, and a free pre-bookable eco-mooring zone
Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The boom in boat numbers has caused an enormous amount of pressure on what is, after all, a finite space.
“The London Mooring Strategy is the result of our collaborative work with boaters, boating groups, local authorities, developers, and other stakeholders such as rowing groups. There’s been a good level of support for the proposals and, following an extensive consultation, we’ve listened to feedback and made changes as a result.
Now we’ll work with boaters and other stakeholders to put the improvements into place and make things better for boaters and sustainable for our canals and rivers. We believe the strategy fairly balances the differing needs of all those who live, work and play on the capital’s waterways.”
The National Bargee Travellers Association London (NBTA London) which is the London branch of the organisation for boat dwellers without a home mooring, disputes CRT’s claims that it will make it easier to moor in London.
It claims the strategy is the perfect recipe for gentrification of the waterways and will make many people’s lives impractical or impossible.
NBTA London chairperson, Ian McDowell commented: “The London Mooring Strategy demonstrates CRT’s plan to cleanse the waterways of poorer people in favour of the leisure industry and business.
“We don’t like the direction that CRT is going. We want the waterways to be for everyone, not for business to make money out of a public asset. The only positive is the promise of more facilities. NBTA welcomes more facilities but we will not stand for the ever-increasing gentrification of the waterways. We will fight to keep the waterways for everyone.”
The full report, with a detailed breakdown of the improvements, can be found at: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/londonmooringstrategy