Boats in danger on the Ouse

Published: Monday, 03 August 2009

BOATS have been refused admission to the council owned basin on the Ouse in York, leaving them in danger when the river floods.

Under the legislation presently in force, boat owners wishing to take refuge overnight in the basin at Castle Mills Lock in York, when the river floods, are refused unless they first acquire planning permission from the council! (The picture shows the lock on the extreme left.)

However Tony Martin, Chairman of the Yorkshire Ouse section of the Inland Waterways Association believes the council should waive this need for planning permission when river levels became dangerously high putting boats at risk.

He pointed out that the lock basin offered a much safer place to moor than on the Ouse at Marygate, where only a few weeks ago, as reported in narrowboatworld three boats and their crews were stranded because the river rose so high.

Their boats had been tied to mooring rings in the wall, but a torrential downpour swelled the river so much, the rings became deeply submerged in water.

Remarks Tony:

"It is crazy. These guys were stranded in the middle of the Ouse waiting for the water level to drop, when they could have been moored safely in the basin.

"We think that under certain conditions the council should waive the need for planning permission to moor overnight in the basin in front of Castle Mills Lock."

But Mike Tavenar, the council's Structure and Drainage Project Manager, obviously not realising the danger, maintains the council would not consider allowing boats to moor in the lock basin without planning permission because it wasn't necessary, stating:

"The level in the River Ouse can fluctuate at any time of the year, but rises in level are slow and rarely exceed 150mm in an hour.

"The Environment Agency has a well-established procedure for issuing flood warnings and it is assumed that boat owners are competent and have made themselves conversant with the way the river reacts to rainfall, and the information that is available from the agency and British Waterways."

So it seems you take to the Ouse at your own peril.