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.
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.”
11th December 2020
NABO has now responded to the consultation by Canal and River Trust on private boat licence terms and conditions.
The consultation closes on 20 December. If you have not done so please complete your personal return. Details are in the last boaters update, or on this link.
You can read the main NABO response here.
During the consulation review, NABO identified issues of privacy laws compliance and readability. We have also provided our comments to the Trust on separate documents.
You can read the comments on privacy here.
You can read the comments on ease of reading here.
CRT is asking waterway users for ideas on how to address perceived problems caused by large numbers of boats moored on some of London’s waterways, particularly the Paddington Arm, Regent’s Canal, Hertford Union Canal, Limehouse Cut and the Lee Navigation. Since October, it has been holding Zoom virtual consultation meetings to hear ideas and answer questions. The remaining meetings are to be held on:
- Saturday 12th December, 3-4pm
- Wednesday 16th December, 10.30-11.30pm
- Friday 18th December, 2.30-3.30pm
- Wednesday 6th January, 7-8pm
- Friday 8th January, 10.30-11.30am
You can register to join a meeting by going to https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/london-and-south-east/managing-boats-on-londons-busy-waterways and clicking the date that you’d like to attend. There are also opportunities to give your views using an online survey at https://wh.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=160260143288 before 8th January 2021. Or if you do not have internet access, write to CRT Head Office, First Floor North, Station House, 500 Elder Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 1BB.