IWA Safety Concern over Olympics Closure of Commercial Road Lock Regent’s Canal

Issue date: 22nd December 2011

The Inland Waterways Association has written to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the Olympic Delivery Authority, LOCOG and Robin Evans at British Waterways to register its extreme concern at the closure of Commercial Road Lock on the Regent’s Canal for the duration of the Olympics.

IWA wishes to establish why, if boats are being allowed (under tight control) to pass on the Lee right next to the Olympic site from Tottenham to Limehouse, access to Limehouse should be restricted to the route via the Thames and not allowed via the Regents Canal, which is over 1.5km from the Olympic site at its closest point.

IWA has no problem with closing the Hertford Union completely and blocking it physically, so everyone has to go via Commercial Road Lock, but considers that the entry to Limehouse basin via Commercial Road lock would be easy to police using whatever approach they are using at Tottenham – But on behalf of London Boaters and craft visiting especially for the Olympics, IWA wishes to understand ‘what's the difference?’  Limehouse is 2.5km from the nearest point on the Olympic Park with a lot of built up area in between, so there is absolutely no risk from vessels at Limehouse. This would avoid the risk of encouraging unsuitable vessels to use the Thames and all of the associated navigational risks caused by attempting a down stream tidal passage.

IWA London region officers had requested British Waterways to properly consult during the process and involve stakeholders in the discussions, regrettably despite these requests the discussions and negotiations were conducted at arms length.