No more free trips across the Middle Level

Published: Wednesday, 21 October 2020

THERE will be no more free trips for boaters across the Middle Level as fees will be charged.

The Middle Level commissioners have decided to overturn the 300 years old byelaw allowing free navigation on the Middle Level, Alan Tilbury reports.

Pay a fee to navigate

This has caused a furore amongst Middle Level boaters who will have to a pay a fee to navigate, with the charge to be decided.

This means that not only will those boaters on the Middle Level be charged, but boaters paying both Canal & River Trust and Environmental Agency fees will also be charged for navigating to and from such as the River Great Ouse, which is at present free.

Even MP Steve Barclay has criticised the Middle Level Commissioners over their decision to charge fees, as navigation has been free for boaters on the Middle Level, no matter where they originate, and they intend overturning a 300 years old byelaw.

Boaters furious

Steve Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire, standing up for the boaters, remarked:

“I have been contacted by many boat owners on the Middle Level who are furious at the scale of the increase in price Middle Level Commissioners have set for their boat licences.”

The MP adds that the price 'appears totally disproportionate to the services the boaters currently receive, adding:

“I am investigating with all the bodies concerned as to why, given the current economic climate, the boaters are not being engaged more constructively.  I urge Middle Level Commission to apply a more proportionate approach.”

Waterway 'virtually unusable

Colin Ovenden, Acting Commodore for the Middle Level Watermans’ Club, told the commissioners:

“Our members are always saying how bad this waterway is and this year is worse with some areas virtually unusable.”