Government review on London boaters

A GOVERNMENT review has been set up to investigate the problems of overcrowding on London's waterways.

The waterways are fast becoming dominated by younger boaters taking up residence to avoid high property prices in the city, so a new working group set up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which includes representatives from Canal & River Trust, Environment Agency and the Ministry of Housing that are attempting to tackle the situation.

Pamela SmithUnable to find moorings

The problem is that many believe that a Canal & River Trust boat licence allows them to stay in one place indefinitely, whilst genuine continuous cruisers are unable to find moorings and visiting boaters too discover moorings are difficult to locate, all creating tensions.

However, the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) that represents continuous cruisers was not invited to take part in the discussions, with Chairman Pamela Smith (pictured) complaining:

No communication

“This group was set up with no communication whatsoever with liveaboard boaters or their representative organisations. We are very concerned that boat dwellers are likely to be the target of further measures that will drive them off waterways.”

The NBTA is wanting more free moorings to be made available to boaters in the city, yet other groups are against this believing in will encourage boats that lack a permanent mooring staying for long periods of time.

Should cruise 300 miles

Though there is no official fixed number of miles a continuous cruiser must travel in a year, 20 miles seems to have been accepted, but the Inland Waterways Association believe it should be a more realistic 300 miles with its Alison Stenner stating:

“This would help to solve the congestion problem—because it will stop boaters from operating just in the short gaps that are the more congested areas."

During March Canal & River Trust claimed it counted 2,050 continuous cruisers in London.