Signs a speciality

August 2017 - If there is one thing most boaters can agree about Canal & River Trust is that it is very good a putting up signs – not necessarily accurate signs or well placed signs - but lots of signs, as Alec Wood reports.

There has been a flurry of C&RT ‘No Mooring’ signs being put up in East and Central London and some speculation that this is the latest C&RT wheeze to reduce boat numbers in the area.

Perhaps this a sign that C&RT feels it can’t rely on persuasion and needs written orders to get boaters to do what they want?

The excess of signs first became apparent some weeks ago (You couldn't make it up – but C&RT did) when C&RT put up ‘No Mooring’ signs that quoted a non-existent Act, the ‘Canal and River Trust Act.’ This got me taking pictures of a lot of the new signs C&RT has put up recently and this is what I found.

There is now a ‘No Mooring’ sign to all railings in East London, not all have the ‘Canal and River Trust Act’ quoted on them. Then in Clapton (East London) some up of the chains which people use to moor on have ‘Don’t moor to the safety chains’ signs on them.

Opposite the chains C&RT has put up two large unsightly ‘No mooring, wildlife reserve’ signs, in a place is used by kids with a rope swing there and by homeless people and drug takers – not exactly an idyllic wildlife reserve.

One could be forgiven for thinking that C&RT is finding any excuse to put up ‘No Mooring’ signs.

However, sometimes they don't even offer excuses. Just where you turn off the Regents onto the Hertford Union, C&RT has put up signs saying, ‘No mooring - This part of the Hertford Union is not open for mooring. Please move on and moor up where the facilities are provided. E.g. a grass verge, bollard or mooring ring.’

When C&RT was asked to comment on how much it had spent on ‘‘No Mooring’ signs in recent times Central and East London they replied ‘information you have requested is not held by the Canal & River Trust’.

As well as putting up signs that say no mooring, C&RT has effectively banned anything more than double mooring by putting notices on boats saying ‘Please re-moor as soon as possible’.

Then the notice goes on to say ‘Your boat is moored in a way which is inconsiderate, dangerous to other boaters, or damaging canal infrastructure’. The instances which the notice claims fits this description includes triple mooring and mooring under bridges. The suspicion may be that boats triple moored at boat festivals will not attract these signs.

All branches of C&RT seem fond of signs and C&RT’s Waterside Moorings operation, has new signs, some of which have popped up on the towpath on the River Lea near to what was the Olympics stadium. These new signs say ‘unauthorised boats will be charged’, - at £150 per day.

Panda Smith chair the National Bargee Travellers Association said: “The wording of these signs is advisory, suggesting that C&RT has no legal powers to enforce any of them and is aware of this.

“There are mooring offences in the General Canal Bye-laws 1965-1976 and in the British Waterways Act 1995. However, the signs do not correspond to any of the mooring offences in the Bye-laws or in the 1995 Act, except perhaps the sign advising people not to moor to safety chains.

“If railings are owned or installed by C&RT it could be argued that mooring to them contravenes bye-law 29 in that the railing is an “other work of the Board not provided for the purpose of mooring”, but the main purpose of this bye-law is to prevent people from mooring to structures that are used in navigation and water control.

“As far as we know, C&RT and BW have not prosecuted anybody under these powers for at least 22 years (since 1995).”

Photos: A selection of randomly improvised signs.

User login