CaRT cutting off more mooring rings and bollards

Published: Tuesday, 07 February 2023

THE Canal & River Trust have suddenly removed mooring rings and historic bollards from a strip of towpath on the Lee and Stort Navigation.

At 9am on Thursday 2nd of February, CaRT began removing mooring rings and historic bollards, some of which were still in use at the time, writes the National Bargee Travellers Association.

MooringsLess the 24 hours notice

Boaters were given less than 24 hours notice regarding this action, with texts requesting the removal of boats sent out in the afternoon of the 1st. In its texts, CaRT claimed this is already a ‘no mooring’ area at Marshgate Bridge (15), near Homerton in East London, so they had no need to provide a suspension notice.

The reason given for the apparent sudden decision to remove these rings and bollards is that they claim boats moored here block navigation. However, this area has been for mooring for decades, if not longer, as illustrated by the historic bollards that were there. So it feels a little hollow that CRT are using this excuse to remove yet more moorings in London.

Frankie Perry was one of the boaters moored here, a spot where she has moored twice previously, and upon receiving a text at 3pm on the Wednesday, panicked to receive this text, telling:

Moving boat impossible

"Moving before 9am would have been impossible for me as I was out until 11pm that night and would leave again for work at 7am.

MooringOn“It didn’t occur to me that there were any mooring restrictions in place. There were no signs, it’s not by a bridge or bend, the navigation is wide, and there were mooring rings to tie up to. I believe the heavy-handed message would have fazed me when I was less experienced in dealing with the trust, and I can imagine myself or others feeling intimidated into moving unsafely in the dark.

"I find the reasons for the ‘no mooring’ designation for this stretch baffling as the navigation is very wide at this point and easily accommodates boats passing each other, even with the permanently moored widebeams on the offsid. I find it very disappointing that the trust is using its resources—to which our license fees contribute—to actively remove mooring rings when there is so much infrastructure within the London network in need of repair or improvement.

"Removing these moorings by Hackney Marshes and Wick Woods may also impact safety for boaters and the public: it is a long stretch of very poorly lit towpath, and an area with a recent history of violent sexual harassment towards women.”

The above photograph shows the mooring ring on then the one below shown it quickly cut off.

MooringCutOffContinued attack on boat dwellers

This latest act by CaRT is part of its continued attack on the itinerant boat dweller community, the National Bargee Travellers Association tell, and its pursuit of achieving the so called 'Safety Zones' which seeks to remove almost 300 London moorings. The removal of mooring rings and bollards in an area that boaters have been using safely for a very long time will only cause more congestion in other areas, and raises very real safety concerns about the creation of desolate, dark parts of the towpath.

Ian McDowell, Chair of the National Bargee Travellers Association London Branch, had this to say on the matter:

“It’s disgraceful that CaRT are claiming this is a 'no mooring’ area under supposed existing rules, yet it’s obvious from the historic bollards and mooring rings that were there until Thursday, that this is just not true. We will continue to fight the boat cull and we encourage all boats to keep mooring in the so called ‘no mooring’ areas.”