Protest Picnic on the Lee Navigation

Published: Monday, 20 June 2022

THE National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) has organised a Protest Picnic to futher its campaign to resist  Canal & River Trust's 'attacks on the capital’s liveaboard boating community.'

This will take place from noon on Sunday 26th June  on Walthamstow Marshes, opposite the Anchor and Hope pub, with Marcus Trower, NBTA London Branch Secretary and one of the event’s organisers stating:

Years of attacks

“London’s boater community has endured years of attacks on their way of life from the CaRT—everything from unlawful attempts to evict boaters from their homes to the current Water ‘Safety’ Zones that will drastically restrict boaters ability to live and work around the Lee Navigation.

"This Protest Picnic is an opportunity to not only draw attention to the issues that boaters are facing from the CaRT, but to also celebrate our unique community, way of life and contribution to Hackney’s own rich public life. Those of us that have moored in Hackney consider spending time here to be an essential part of London’s boating culture, and one of the joys of making our lives on water; we’re looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible to Walthamstow Marshes to celebrate that fact with good food, music, conversation and continued solidarity for our fight against CaRT’s boat cull.”

ProtestBoatsCull the number of casual moorings

The Protest Picnic is the latest in a series of events which protest against CaRT’s plans to drastically cull the number of casual moorings across London, and demonstrate the strength and vibrancy of the liveaboard community whose lives these plans will negatively impact. In April 2021, a flotilla of boaters made its way through Broxbourne to raise awareness of CaRT’s attacks in the local community and in June 2021 a similar flotilla protest through Hackney drew thousands of boaters and supporters alike.

In March of this year, hundreds of boaters and supporters marched on the CaRT’s main office in Little Venice to explain how these discriminatory policy changes are threatening people’s livelihoods and intentionally pricing boaters out of their homes, with Ian McDowell, Chairman of the London branch of NBTA explaining some of the reasons behind boaters' continuing resistance to CaRT’s plans:

ProtestPeopleDrives boaters away

“This continued disregard for the people who live and work in these new ‘no mooring’ and proposed paid-for mooring areas drives boaters away from their livelihoods, and out of their homes. By ignoring its responsibility to preserve the waterways for all communities, CaRT is crossing a dangerous line that could see London Waterways and other waterways become usable only by those who can afford any extra costs CaRT chooses to introduce in addition to the licence fee.

"Its actions only serve to show that while CaRT markets themselves as a charity that promotes wellbeing, they repeatedly try to introduce policies which attack boaters’ wellbeing and way of life.”

The Protest Picnic, which is open to all—whether boater or land-basedis an opportunity for liveaboards to come together and celebrate their contribution to London’s rich and diverse community, not only in Hackney but across the whole capital. The event will be completely free to attend and family friendly, with live music from Erawan, Harry Mold, Liam Bokser, CeCe and Donal Denver as well as a vegan BBQ and refreshments.