BW talk about summer 2012 around London

British Waterways met with London Boaters this week. BW identified a number of areas where they are looking at improving facilities. These include reinstalling water points at Islington and Kensal and a possible new point at Mile End. They asked for suggestions of where new rubbish points could be provided that have road access for them. There were discussions about recycling, sanitary facilities and compost toilets, the range of areas where BW are willing to provide free 10 week moorings outside the central restricted area. There was also a suggestion of providing an exception from the 14 day rule for boaters who wished to continue to move this summer.

BW are accepting questionnaire responses / suggestions for another month. They are going to review the areas people identify for moorings and look at potential for installing new facilities in these areas if needed. They intend to have clear options and a booking process in place for moorings / permits by end of February.

Notes of the Meeting between London Boaters and British Waterways
on Thursday 19th January 2012 at Pirate Castle, Camden

(original posting on Facebook: The River Lea/Stort Boaters Group with permission)


50+ boaters were present at the meeting.
British Waterways staff present:
• Jon Guest (Waterway Manager for London)
• Jason Leach (Olympics Project Manager)


The recent questionnaire asked boaters what facilities improvements we would like to see.
BW explained that in the past they have used a standard distance between water points – they admitted that this was clearly not appropriate for areas like London with a high volume of boats.
The responses to the questionnaire indicated to them that people would be quite happy with basic facilities – water points and basic functional Elsan points – rather than high cost multifunctional utility blocks.

BW will look to reestablish water points at Islington and Kensal Green. They are also looking at the possibility of installing a waterpoint at Mile End.

There are only BW rubbish points at Little Venice and Victoria Park. Rubbish points generally need road access for collection. BW are happy to consider more sites if these can be identified and asked for suggestions.

BW pointed out that the rubbish facilities at St Pancras boat club are paid for by BW and should be available to all boaters to use – some boaters reported that they had been told by people on site at St Pancras that the rubbish facilities were only for residents.

BW are looking at the residential and non residential mooring sites in the area to see if there is the possibility of providing new water, sanitary and rubbish points.

There was a discussion on the lack of recycling facilities. BW stated that this is something they would like to provide in future. In the meantime, it was pointed out by a boater that council public recycling facilities are often located close to the towpath. It was suggested that we could either develop our own list of these to circulate or provide the information to BW to compile and publicise.

BW requested that boaters avoid using towpath bins for domestic rubbish.

Elsan / Pump out

Provision of Elsan and pumpout facilities are more of a medium to long term issue. Potentially, any new mooring facilities (possibly developed by the proposed new social enterprise) should have sanitary facilities that all boaters can use.

The potential for development of new approaches such as compost toilets and small scale anaerobic digestion were also discussed.

BW are looking to encourage more private provision of pumpout facilities by service boats and asked for any suggestions about provision of new sanitary facilities.

Olympic Moorings

The recent questionnaire was sent to 500 people. 90 responses have been received.

The questionnaire will be available for another month from or can be requested from

The majority expressed a preference for moorings at Kensal Green and Walthamstow Marshes on the basis that they would be free and that boaters would not be required to move for 10 weeks.

BW are happy for boaters to book a free 10 week mooring at any other location outside the restricted zone e.g. Westbourne Park, Harlesden, Tottenham Marshes, Greenford, Perivale, Cassiobury Park.

Meeting maps were provided for boaters to mark their preferred mooring points and also note any issues regarding facilities.

It was pointed out that some proposed mooring sites such as Walthamstow Marshes would require dredging in order to make them suitable for mooring.

Some boaters expressed a preference for continuing to move rather than be restricted to one spot for 10 weeks. However, given the expected higher number of boats and restricted number of available moorings, they were concerned that they may not be able to adhere to the 14 day rule.

It was proposed that a free permit be made available to those affected by the Olympic restrictions that enabled them to continue to move but exempted them for having to move every 14 days. BW were prepared to consider this as an option.

Next Steps

BW are proposing continuing to gather information over the next four weeks. They will review possible mooring areas, look at potential for installing new facilities (mooring rings, water points, rubbish points etc), continue to take questionnaire responses and gather proposals and preferences.

By the end of February they aim to have a range of options for mooring sites / movement permit and a booking system. This will be promoted by email and by a letter drop on boats.

General Information

The Olympic restrictions were outlined.

Paid Olympic moorings are available within the BW restricted area between Little Venice at Warwick Avenue, Limehouse and Lea Bridge Road.  

There will be complete closures at Commercial Road and on the Hertford Union at Hackney Wick.

There will be a section between Lea Bridge and the A12 road bridge south of Three Mills which will only be open for booked passage between 6 – 9 am and 7 – 9 pm each day. Passage will have to be booked – probably a week in advance.

The costs of security, including the BW security points, are being met by LOCOG.

BW stated that £60M of Olympic funds (from the Olympic Delivery Authority) had been used to deliver a range of upgrades to locks and towpaths, water quality monitoring on the Lea which would be used to help the Environment Agency identify and deal with sewage pollution on the river, and dredging on the Lea.

In addition, a sum of about £200,000 (from the sale of Olympic moorings?) was being used to improve facilities and provide new mooring rings where the towpath has been concreted over e.g. between Victoria Park and Broadway Market and along the Hertford Union.