Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.


The green revolution and boating

John Devonald peers into his crystal ball.

Some of you will have seen NABO’s bulletin on sustainable boating in the future and our decision to push hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) as the best solution for boaters. This article is to put some flesh on the bones of the bulletin article and the reasons we have come to this decision. I will mainly be discussing electric and HVO as other potential fuels, like hydrogen and fuel cells, are really just non-starters at present.

Green has become one of the most important topics over the last few years with the Government making promises to cut carbon footprints, plastic waste and emissions. We have seen political demonstrations, the results of climate change in the weather, and the rise of the electric car as the future of motoring in the UK. Inland waterways users are going to be caught up in this spiral towards the green future so we need to try and move this in a direction that we boaters are comfortable with, both in the ‘green’ aspect and the financial implications.

Strategy, what strategy?

Mark Tizard shares some thoughts on mooring in London.

For several years, CRT sought views via the Boater Relationship Group and subsequently, when this collapsed, it facilitated meetings that resulted in the publication of its London Strategy document in June 2018. This outlined the actions that CRT would take to address congestion in London. A key outcome was improved information and communication for boaters in the area. The principle conclusions were:

  • More general towpath mooring and limited offside moorings outside the Regent’s Canal area;
  • Increasing the number of short-stay visitor moorings;
  • Increasing the monitoring and management of towpath and visitor moorings and
  • Major improvements to facilities - specifically six new water points, nine new rubbish disposal areas, four new pumpouts and five or six new Elsan facilities.

Thames moorings U turn for EA

The Thames EA have issued an update regarding the Thames moorings management contract with District Enforcement.

The Environment Agency’s contract with District Enforcement, will be brought to an end from 30th September 2021. They say that this decision has been taken following a review that subsequently identified issues with our internal procurement processes, rather than as a result of any fault by District Enforcement.

District Enforcement will cease operations under the contract on 31st August 2021, with the following four weeks being spent removing their signage from our sites. We expect to look into options to retender for this work in the future but in the meantime moorings will be managed by the Environment Agency’s Waterways staff.

NABO with other boating organisations has been very active in criticism of the way in which this contract was awarded. EA have for a long time refused to acknowledge that there had been a problem. We are delighted that they have now seen some common sense. Our view is that enforement should always be carried out by Navigation Authorities alone.

Time to cut the grass?

Time to cut the grass?

Last year I wrote a long article about towpath mowing (‘One man went to mow’, Issue 4, July 2020). I write now with an update. CRT and the Navigation Advisory Group (NAG) have worked on the mowing regimes over the last 12 months to improve the mapping on the towpath maps. These are the instructions to Fountains on what to cut and where. The need is to accurately record the knowledge of where to cut at:

  • Approaches to structures, landings/moorings, winding holes
  • At sharp bends or obstructions for line of sight.
  • At visitor moorings
  • At remote mooring places, (a 100-metre length every 1 km to allow informal moorings.)

The national CRT team has carried out a desk review of these points and updated the mowing maps. Boaters from the NAG have assisted with this. The new maps are now available on the CRT website. Please have a look at the mowing as you are cruising and provide feedback to CRT via the web portal. Please provide locations. General comments are useless.

Worcs and B’ham stoppages


Birmingham University train station is undergoing redevelopment, which requires a series of 29-hour closures of the canal and towpath. This is to enable large sections of the station building framework and canal footbridge to be lifted across the canal. The stoppages will be between 00.30 on Sundays and 05.00 on Mondays on the following dates: 27th – 28th June; 4th – 5th July; 8th – 9th August; 5th – 6th September; 26th – 27th September; and 3rd – 4th October. To minimise the effect of the closures, there will be two windows in which the canal will be opened to allow boats to pass through the site. These will be 12.00-13.00 and 16.00-17.00 on each Sunday.