NBTA To Hold Boaters Spring Fayre in Hackney

Published: Friday, 07 April 2023

THE National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) is holding a Boaters’ Spring Fayre community event this month.

It will be held on on Sunday noon 14th May 2023 by the Lea towpath of the North Millfields Recreation Ground, Clapton (E5 9PB) sometimes referred to as the Clapton ‘S Bend’.

BoatsAreHomesIn defence and celebration

The event is in defence and celebration of the boater community’s life on the water, and welcomes all boaters and non-boaters alike to come together on one of the key sites the Canal and River Trust (CRT) are trying to erase us from.

At one point, CRT called these areas ‘water sports zones’ before later renaming them ‘water safety zones’. These designated ‘zones’ are a part of CRT’s strategy to remove the number of places where boaters can moor, and to force our community off the water. its renaming is part of a PR exercise—the restrictions they are attempting to enact inside the zones have nothing to do with safety.

EventWaterGet rid of 550 mooring spaces

Initially CRT had plans to get rid of 550 mooring spaces along the Lea where people can moor for up to 14 days at a time. But following the magnificent efforts of events, activism, resolve and resistance from the boating community to push back against the designated zones, CRT relented on the full threatened 550 mooring spaces. However, it continues to try and eliminate 295 mooring spaces, including the entirety of the Clapton ’S Bend’.

Boaters are making CRT feel the continuous pushback of our community by ignoring the ‘no mooring’ signs erected by CRT, and on Sunday 14th May we will be celebrating our community’s resolve at this key site of resistance.

Marcus Trower, NBTA London Branch Secretary and one of the event’s organisers stated:

Endured yesrs of attacks

“The boater community has endured years of attacks on their way of life from the CRT. From the Water ‘Safety’ Zones to the CRT’s recent announcement that licence fees will rise above inflation for the next ten years, with those boaters without a home mooring potentially being saddled with discriminatory and potentially illegal differential fees.

Now more than ever it’s important that all boaters, and our friends and allies living on land, get together to show the strength and resolve of our community. Boaters are the lifeblood of a vibrant, safe and beautiful waterways system, so together we can celebrate that fact and show the CRT that we won’t be erased.

Last year’s summer picnic drew hundreds of people to Hackney for a brilliant daythis year we’re hoping to do the same again with good food, music, conversation and continued solidarity in our fight against CRT’s boat cull.”

The event, NBTA explain, which is free to attend and open to allwhether boater or land-basedis an opportunity for liveaboards to come together and celebrate their contribution to Hackney’s diverse community on one of the many historic sites that they call home. The event will be family friendly, with speeches, live music, a BBQ, refreshments and a whole host of activities and performances from trade boats and boaters alike.