Middle Level licences to be introduced

THOUGH there is opposition from boaters to the introduction of boat licences for the Middle Level waterways, they are to be introduced.

At present boaters using the Middle Level as a route between the canal system and the River Great Ouse do so without charge, but boat licences are to be introduced, and such boaters will be charged for access.

Ely RiversideUsed to access River Great Ouse

The Middle Level is currently used by CaRT licenced boaters to access the River Great Ouse via the Nene, and of course River Great Ouse boaters to access the canal system. The photograph shows the moorings at Ely.

Of course the greatest objection is from the National Bargee Travellers Association, whose members moor on the Middle Level so avoiding both CaRT boat licence, Boat Safety Scheme commitment and insurance, but the introduction of licencing will put a stop to this.

Can empty toilets into navigation

Even toilet emptying into the waterway is permitted under the old rules, that means Bargee members have no need to move their boats to access such facilities.  Under the new licence conditions this too will be stopped.

The new Middle Level Bill is designed to bring the waterway into line with the rules of those of both Canal & River Trust and the Environmental Agency and is now set to proceed through Parliament.

More facilities

An aim of the Bill is to raise funds to provide facilities on the Middle Level, of which there are very few. As to whether or not this will come to pass only the future will reveal.