IWA Welcomes London Assembly Report29 November 2013
IWA welcomes a report published by the London Assembly this week on moorings in London.
IWA supports the overall findings of the report, that extra moorings and additional facilities are required on London’s waterways, in order to address the increase in demand. In particular, IWA welcomes the recommendations that require Canal & River Trust (CRT) to implement changes that should bring about improvements to the current congestion affecting visitor moorings on the canals through the capital.
The report follows an investigation that reported to the London Assembly’s Environment Committee on the demand for and supply of moorings on London’s canals and rivers, and some of the impacts on canal infrastructure, existing boaters and canal-side properties resulting from increasing boat numbers.
Seven recommendations are made in the report, for steps that the relevant responsible bodies should take to alleviate these problems.
IWA supports all of the recommendations, in particular:
- That “Canal & River Trust should increase mooring supply on London’s canals…”. IWA suggests that these additional visitor moorings should be created through provision of additional mooring rings and bollards on solid towpaths, where the use of mooring stakes is not possible, and through dredging the canal up to the towpath edge to provide sufficient depth for boats to moor.
- That “On the River Thames the Port of London Authority and Environment Agency should look to increase the supply and accessibility of moorings”. IWA considers that the provision of more visitor moorings on the River Thames is an important safety consideration.
- That “CRT should review its system of auctioning moorings”. IWA agrees that CRT should look to implement a system that is “fairer to those using and contributing to the waterway network”.
- That “CRT should encourage a trial of community moorings. The costs of community moorings, and the process for setting them, should be transparent”. IWA welcomes this, and notes the reference to IWA’s own recommendations for community moorings which includes a list of potential sites in the London area that may be suitable for community moorings. Further details of IWA’s proposals can be found on IWA's website
- That “CRT should review the provision of facilities and lighting, and lead the production and implementation of a facilities strategy for London waterways.” IWA agrees that additional facilities at new locations should be provided and that all facilities should be well maintained and always available.
- That “CRT should ensure that its action to regulate restricted moorings… is effective”. IWA considers that strong enforcement action is the key to resolving the difficulties, and agrees that enforcement needs to be consistent, well communicated and timely.
IWA cautions, however, that the report may contain an over estimate of the number of actual residential boaters. IWA’s London Region has carried out much research on this and estimates that the number of people living on boats in the London area is around 1500 to 2000 rather than the 10,000 quoted in the report.
Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, said: "The moorings issues in London and elsewhere in the country need to be resolved. IWA will continue to press for a resolution as a priority issue, and for the proposals in this report to be taken forward constructively and fairly for the benefit of all boaters".