The Bristol Avon in Bath11 November 2013
Whilst Canal & River Trust is the navigation authority for the Bristol Avon between Hanham Lock and the bottom of Bath Locks, and Bristol City Council is the navigation authority downstream of Hanham Lock, there is no navigation authority for the navigable section of river upstream of where the canal leaves the river, just below the locks, to the head of navigation upstream at Pulteney Weir. For some time a number of boats have moored on this section of river adjacent to the Rugby Club, but the landowner, Bath & North East Somerset Council, has now given notice to the boat owners to leave the site owing to concerns about sanitation, rubbish left and lack of insurance for some of the boats. The Council plans to install electric and water facilities and charge for future use of the moorings. The Council’s action have led to protests from some of the boat owners who have been asked to vacate the moorings, which previously have not attracted charges for use.
The different circumstances of canals, where the land is owned by the navigation authority, and river navigations, where the land both underneath the waterway and both banks may be under different ownerships can be confusing. To help explain the situation in Bath (and elsewhere), Alan Aldous of IWA Avon and Wilts Branch has prepared an informative briefing.