July 2018 - The National Bargee Travellers Association has become the first boaters organisation to come out and condemns Canal & River Trust’s London Mooring Strategy – disputing claims it will make it easier to moor in London and condemning it for ‘social cleansing’, as Alec Wood reports.

The National Bargee Travellers Association’s London branch says the strategy will make it harder to moor in London and Greater London, making many people’s lives impractical or impossible.

It says: “The C&RT blueprint has stretches of no-mooring areas and turns publicly used towpath into business moorings as well as introducing new watersports zones.

“The London Mooring Strategy is a strategy to help clear London's waterways of boat dwellers and turn it into a London waterway leisure and business park. It is the perfect recipe for gentrification of the waterways.”

An NBTA gathering at London's Victoria Park

As NBTA sees it, the London Mooring Strategy includes;

- 22 sites where time limits are further reduced from 14 days to 7 days, 48 hours or 24 hours

- Increased monitoring and enforcement on the sites with reduced time limits

- Two watersports zones next to two rowing clubs. These zones will turn the towpath into 'no mooring' areas or ban double mooring

- Four more pre-bookable chargeable visitor mooring sites on the towpath and other publicly used moorings

- More pre-chargeable trade moorings

- 30 more business moorings

- More stretches where no mooring at all is allowed

- Continued no mooring on the Bow Back Rivers. The Bow Back Rivers are the river systems that were closed off to normal navigation for the Olympics and now only open for cruising through, however no mooring is allowed anywhere and this is re-stated in the London Mooring Strategy.

NBTA London chairperson, Ian McDowell said: “The London Mooring Strategy demonstrates C&RT's plan to cleanse the waterways of poorer people, in favour of the leisure industry and business.”

He points out that the strategy was released soon after C&RT rebranded itself as a ‘well-being’ charity: “We don't like the direction that C&RT 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.”

NBTA London vows to fight the increasing gentrification of the waterways and is planning further actions to stop C&RT in its tracks.

Photos: An NBTA gathering at London's Victoria Park.

User login