Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.


Thames moorings U turn for EA

The Thames EA have issued an update regarding the Thames moorings management contract with District Enforcement.

The Environment Agency’s contract with District Enforcement, will be brought to an end from 30th September 2021. They say that this decision has been taken following a review that subsequently identified issues with our internal procurement processes, rather than as a result of any fault by District Enforcement.

District Enforcement will cease operations under the contract on 31st August 2021, with the following four weeks being spent removing their signage from our sites. We expect to look into options to retender for this work in the future but in the meantime moorings will be managed by the Environment Agency’s Waterways staff.

NABO with other boating organisations has been very active in criticism of the way in which this contract was awarded. EA have for a long time refused to acknowledge that there had been a problem. We are delighted that they have now seen some common sense. Our view is that enforement should always be carried out by Navigation Authorities alone.

Time to cut the grass?

Time to cut the grass?

Last year I wrote a long article about towpath mowing (‘One man went to mow’, Issue 4, July 2020). I write now with an update. CRT and the Navigation Advisory Group (NAG) have worked on the mowing regimes over the last 12 months to improve the mapping on the towpath maps. These are the instructions to Fountains on what to cut and where. The need is to accurately record the knowledge of where to cut at:

  • Approaches to structures, landings/moorings, winding holes
  • At sharp bends or obstructions for line of sight.
  • At visitor moorings
  • At remote mooring places, (a 100-metre length every 1 km to allow informal moorings.)

The national CRT team has carried out a desk review of these points and updated the mowing maps. Boaters from the NAG have assisted with this. The new maps are now available on the CRT website. Please have a look at the mowing as you are cruising and provide feedback to CRT via the web portal. Please provide locations. General comments are useless.

Worcs and B’ham stoppages


Birmingham University train station is undergoing redevelopment, which requires a series of 29-hour closures of the canal and towpath. This is to enable large sections of the station building framework and canal footbridge to be lifted across the canal. The stoppages will be between 00.30 on Sundays and 05.00 on Mondays on the following dates: 27th – 28th June; 4th – 5th July; 8th – 9th August; 5th – 6th September; 26th – 27th September; and 3rd – 4th October. To minimise the effect of the closures, there will be two windows in which the canal will be opened to allow boats to pass through the site. These will be 12.00-13.00 and 16.00-17.00 on each Sunday.

London moorings strategy – a London boater’s perspective

Simon Robbins concludes that limited progress has been made.

NABO’s response to the London congestion consultation was that CRT is seeking to introduce new changes without first implementing, and assessing the impact of, the changes promised in the 2018 strategy. Here, Simon, a former NABO Council member and London liveaboard boater, reports in detail on what has actually been achieved.

In 2012, arising out of the huge displacement of boats from East London for the Olympics, and the less than sensitive approach by BW/CRT to dealing with that, came the ‘Better Relationships Group’. The name reflected the fact that even BW recognised it had upset a lot of boaters along the way and now wanted to be seen to be trying to build bridges, coincidentally coinciding with the launch of Canal and River Trust. That group lumbered on painfully, with relationships barely improving for many months, reported in 2014 and then nothing much happened.

In 2013 the Greater London Authority became involved through Jenny (now Baroness) Jones, and the GLA produced the ‘Moor or Less’ report. This was a genuinely independent report which highlighted the need for improvements in facilities for boaters on the London Waterways.

CRT then went round the circle again, eventually launching the London Moorings Strategy, starting in 2016. The final report was finally published in summer 2018. So, to the present: in late autumn 2020, CRT announced a new consultation on London Boating based around the Moorings Strategy. Awkward git that I am, I wrote to CRT asking how much of the existing 2018 Strategy had been implemented. In mid-February, a few days shy of four months after asking, and after the consultation meetings, CRT finally disclosed its assessment of how much of the 2018 Moorings Strategy it has implemented so far.  Here we go!

The debate over the eco-toilet rolls on

- says enthusiast Helen Hutt.

Let me firstly declare, I’m a fan of eco-toilets. As a continuous cruiser, I bought one in 2009. Every two months or so, I emptied my poo pot into a 10-litre paint tub with a tight-fitting lid until I could dispose of the contents, using a network of amenable farmers’ muck heaps and friends with garden compost bins. Never, ever, would I have considered ‘bagging and binning’ it!

There weren’t many of us back then and, indeed, we were considered a bit strange. But the idea caught on and at some point, I think around 2017, someone asked CRT how they could dispose of their solid waste. CRT rightly advised it could be bagged and binned – and unfortunately that resulted in a surge of interest from boaters who had previously thought disposal was an insurmountable issue. You know how the story has unfolded from there!