Living in a dream world

Published: Monday, 04 March 2019

ONCE again comes the call to use the canals to transport goods to save pulution from lorries that is little more than a dream world.

Canals could help in the fight against London's 21st century pollution maintains London Assembly's Transport Committee, Alan Tilbury reports.

New measures

The assembly's transport committee published a letter to Khan, calling for new measures to ensure safe, clean and efficient freight in the capital.

The committee points out the huge volume of freight traffic in London contributes to congestion, poor air quality and impacts safety on London's roads, adding that moving freight around efficiently is vital to London's economy, with the canals being ideal for the purpose.

In recommendations to Transport for London (TfL) the committee wants to see the canals used to move building materials for major projects. It also calls on Khan to reinstate a dedicated freight team, led by a senior TfL officer.

The reality

However, these people are certainly not acquainted with the reality. The materials first have to be taken to the canals and loaded onto boats—by lorries. Then they have to be unloaded and the materials loaded againonto lorries, for it is most unlikely that either the building yard or construction site is in the vicinity of a canal.

In addition to the delay in loading and unloading, the speed the material is transported is 3mph, and many know the urgency of materials for building sites, not even allowing for the delays to get through locks.


And there is the rub. As most boaters know the canals are in such condition that they are regularly incurring stoppages. Remember?12 in one week!. And come winter many canals are closed for winter maintenance, maintenance that is getting worse year on year.

Not forgetting the dredging. Would any section of the London canals be dredged enough for a boat loaded with building materials?


And those on the committee have forgotten that boats are driven by dieselthat is on its way to be banned. Or perhaps they envisage the boats being pulled by horses...

It really is a dream world.