Live-aboards protest at CaRT cutting moorings

Published: Wednesday, 29 May 2019

LIVEABOARD boaters stages a protest in London at Canal & River Trust cutting mooring sites.

The National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) London branch organised a flotilla over the holiday week-end to protest at what it calls the 'social cleansing' of live-aboards in the city.

Social cleansingEver increasing 'no mooring' sites

Live-aboards are angered that CaRT is turning towpath moorings into business moorings and ever increasing the number of ‘no mooring’ sites, not only in the city but throughout the system.

The boaters brought their boats to Paddington on the Regent's Canal to protest, choosing Paddington as it has seen much of the towpath turned into business moorings. Many other places, especially in London, have also seen the towpath turned into business moorings or having ‘no mooring’ sites that were previously available for boaters to moor,

More business and 'no mooring' sites

Under CaRT's London Mooring Strategy it announced last year that it would provide many more business sites together with unspecified stretches of ‘no mooring’ sites as well as ‘no mooring’ sites within what it called ‘water sport zones’.

CaRT has already started implementing some of the towpath take-over outlined in strategy.

BoatsAreHomeMooring leased to massive company

One of these has seen 140ft of towpath at Paddington taken from the use of anyone who wishes to moor there for short periods, it now being been leased for permanent use to the multi-billion pounds company, British Land, which turned two trip boats from the 2012 Olympics into an up-market bar/cafe boat.

This is just seen as the start, as CART has outlined more plans to turn the towpath into business moorings, including even more at Paddington, with Ian McDowell, the Chairman of the National Bargee Travellers Association London branch stating:

Social cleansing

“The act of turning towpath into business moorings or just plain ‘no mooring’ sites is nothing short of social cleansing.

“The towpath has been shared by anyone who wishes to moor there for a short period of time for many years, often for hundreds of years. The increased amount of towpath being lost to business moorings is helping force boat dwellers out of areas such as London.

“CaRT had claimed to be dealing with what they call congestion of the waterways, but when CaRT makes towpath permanent business mooring or ‘no mooring’ sites, it is doing the opposite. It shows it is using the idea of congestion as a cover for its social cleansing and gentrification of the waterways.“

Heritage taken away

One live-aboard Graham Ryder stated:

“CaRT is making places ‘no mooring’ zones for boat dwellers. It makes it harder for people like me to live in and travel though London. First we had CaRT making it harder for us with more enforcement, then we had CaRT take the places where we can moor.

“Our heritage is being taken away and sold off everywhere. It makes me angry and I feel like we have to do something before our community is broken up and sold off. The community that is already here is well loved by the public and an integral part of the landscape. I won't stand by and watch whilst they sell off what we all already own.”