A Zoom-based meeting of this valuable forum brought together representatives of NABO, RBOA, CBOA, DBA, TBA, HNBC, IWA, AWCC and the General Secretary, Michael Stimpson.

The meeting agreed to reappoint Michael and thanked him for his valuable work over the past year. The finances were also reported on and with little expenditure on meetings, the financial position is sound. It was agreed to pay towards the cost of the ZOOM facilities being used.

The online meeting of TNUF in October was, rather like the recent NNUF meeting, yet another example of how not to use the available technology – in this case a voice-only system was used, with most users being muted until being asked if they had any queries, following the EA presentations. Those who said they did were then noted and given time to comment, but there was really no opportunity for any proper debate, and most queries answered by: “We will take that up after the meeting”. In truth, most of the material presented was a rerun of the NNUF materials with, of course, more reference to the Thames situation. I must say, though, that this time the EA presenters did try not to just read through their previously provided material, but to give what proved to be good summaries. The overview of Thames work being undertaken now and in the near future was particularly impressive and it is clear that the additional funding provided is being well used.

Of special interest to me was the presentation by the Managing Director of District Enforcement (DE), the car-parking company that has been awarded (in somewhat odd and non-user consulted circumstances), the contract to monitor and then enforce short-term moorings on the majority of EA’s Thames sites. The give-away for me was in one of his written statements, that an aim and objective of the contract was to ‘increase the number of enforcement actions, particularly the service of mooring charge notices’. Of course, this does reflect the nature of the contract, in that DE makes its income from this work primarily through user ‘fines’ for overstaying. When I queried this as a ‘prime objective’ of the contract, I was told by the Chair that the EA feels that it is quite appropriate to operate a car-parking approach to their moorings, and if users chose to overstay, then the proposed charges were fully acceptable. To my surprise, I appeared to be one of few user representatives who were concerned about this matter and I can only conclude that most Thames users are happy with this approach.

Mike Rodd

Thames Recreational Powered Boating Organisations, including the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs, the Dutch Barge Association, the Residential Boat Owners’ Association, the Thames Motor Boaters Association and NABO, have expressed their deep concern about the proposed management of Thames moorings by third party contractors and have now found it necessary to issue the following advisory notice to their members:

“The Environment Agency, some Local Authorities and riparian land owners are making increasing use of third-party contractors to manage their moorings on the non-tidal Thames. Terms and conditions, regarding registering on arrival, length of stay and charges, vary, but almost all provide for the issuing of significant penalty charges if boaters fail to comply.

In most cases the first 24 hours may be free of charge but there is usually a requirement to register on arrival and failure to do so may result in a penalty charge of up to £150 being issued.

Boaters should, when mooring, take care to read local notices and ensure they comply with the terms and conditions that apply at the location.”

Mike Rodd

11th December 2020

NABO joined with DBA (The Barge Association) and RBOA (The Residential Boat Owners Association) in the following submission to EA in response to the request for comment on the proposed signage to appear at EA’s Thames short term mooring sites.

“Thank you for a last minute opportunity to comment on the intended signage and the conditions attached to the contract that you have let to District Enforcement. We, the undersigned, represent three National Boating organisations whose members use the Thames and are represented on the Thames Navigation Users Forum.

We are disappointed by the aggressive and unwelcoming approach indicated by this signage. Users had been given to understand that the intent was to achieve effective management of short term moorings and not a modified car parking scheme designed to deter anyone from mooring.

A Zoom-based meeting of this valuable forum brought together representatives of NABO, RBOA, CBOA, DBA,TBA, HNBC and the General Secretary, Michael Stimpson.

As always, the meeting gave us an opportunity to share our views on a number of key issues. Being largely London focused, the first discussion related to CRT’s request for input on the handling of the over-populated situation on the London waterways and it was agreed that the problem in London (and elsewhere on the system) was folk who had no interest in the waterways buying boats to live on. Adding to the problem was the difficulty of turning existing moorings into residential moorings or indeed in creating new ones, and it was mentioned that the existing planning regulations needed to be addressed. It was noted that there were many off-line locations available which could be used to provide residential moorings especially along the main line of the Grand Union. RBOA agreed to provide a paper on the subject to circulate to members, and the General Secretary will discuss the situation with the EA and CRT.