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London boat dwellers protest against plans they say could leave them homeless


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Boaters fear that the Canal and River Trust’s plans to trial ‘water safety zones’ will lead to a big reduction in mooring spaces.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jun/13/london-boat-dwellers-protest-against-plans-to-drive-them-from-their-homes

 

Another NBTA objection by CCers whose ability to continuously cruise is constrained by having children in local schools.

Edited by David Mack
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I can't see how such new proposals would leave boaters homeless. Their boats are their homes, and boats can move to other areas of the waterways, surely?

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"Boaters say that if the new plans go ahead, moorings will be restricted in popular areas such as a stretch in Hackney where many families live in boats. Their children have places in local schools and they are networked in with health and other community services."

 

So surely they'll be fine, they must have home moorings there because CART rules for CCing specifically say that it's not compatible with having children in schools and needing to stay in one small area? ?

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More importantly although this is a widebeam river many of the proposed moooring restrictions are to limit mooring to single file narrowbeam only no widebeams allowed.

 

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its a widebeam river most of the small cruisers on the river are widebeam if anything they should ban narrowboats

perhaps they should all move up to the North Oxford?

 

Edited by Phoenix_V
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4 minutes ago, Phoenix_V said:

More importantly although this is a widebeam river many of the proposed moooring restrictions are to limit mooring to single file narrowbeam only no widebeams allowed.

 

Not making excuses for CART but people should read the CART release and make up their own minds, not just listen to the NBTA:

 

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/london-and-south-east/water-safety-zones-along-lee-navigation

 

Yes, boats can still moor within the water safety zone, but in some places, mooring will be restricted or limited, for example there will be no double mooring in parts of the water safety zones, to ensure there is a fair balance of the available space so that all water users are safe.

It has been reported by some that you are removing 550 mooring spaces from the water safety zone, is this true?

We understand that the 550 number has been calculated based on all mooring space being double moored and does not include any space between moored boats. Even now, not all space in the Water Safety Zones is or can be double moored, and boats do not moor without some space between them. The 550 lost mooring space figure is an exaggeration that does not reflect the current mooring space nor the proposed moorings space.

 

The average number of boats we sight in the Lower Lee section is 352, maximum sighted 387. The average number of boats we sight in the Broxbourne section is 42, maximum sighted 71.

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I can't fully grasp the logistical challenge that moving further afield would pose. Really need a map showing where these people take their kids to school, and where they'd have to moor if there aren't enough spaces where they currently are. Because, many people live right on the edges and have no issue commuting every day, and sometimes you can live close to something and yet spend ages getting there.

Edited by Thomas C King
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9 minutes ago, IanD said:

Not making excuses for CART but people should read the CART release and make up their own minds, not just listen to the NBTA:

 

 

Your comments are relevant but why quote from my post. I have read the crt proposals for Broxbourne at least and there is minimal space allocated where widebeams (and crt ususally defined that as anything more than 7'6") can moor

Edited by Phoenix_V
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8 minutes ago, Phoenix_V said:

Your comments are relevant but why quote from my post. I have read the crt proposals and there is minimal space allocated where widebeams (and crt ususally define that as ) can moreover 7'6"

You seem to have an interesting definition of "minimal" -- here are the actual numbers:

 

"Although there will be some restrictions on where boats can moor to ensure that a safe navigation width is maintained, there will still be lots of mooring space.

  • In the Broxbourne water safety zone, there will be 1824 metres (5984 ft) of mooring space including 338 metres (1108ft) for wider craft.
  • In the Lower Lee water safety zone, there will be 4529 metres (14,858ft) of mooring space including 2279 metres (7477ft) of mooring space for wider craft.
  • In the Broxbourne Zone this is equivalent to towpath mooring space for over 132 x 65ft boats and in the Lower Lee zone this is equivalent to towpath mooring space for over 411* x 65ft boats.

*includes space for 106 double moored narrow boats in the Lower Lee section"

 

The issue (according to CART) is that there are far more boats than there used to be, especially widebeam and double-moored, and that in some places this doesn't leave enough free width to be safe. You can argue with why they want to do this (the rowing clubs are certainly in favour, though they've been there for far longer than the excess boats) and I don't know the area well enough to comment, but I've certainly seen other places recently where the proliferation of such boats doesn't leave a wide enough channel.

 

9 minutes ago, Thomas C King said:

I can't fully grasp the logistical challenge that moving further afield would pose. Really need a map showing where these people take their kids to school, and where they'd have to moor if there aren't enough spaces where they currently are. Because, many people live right on the edges and have no issue commuting every day, and sometimes you can live close to something and yet spend ages getting there.

Because commuting costs money, and surely you can't expect the poor children to travel for long periods on public transport? (even though many others seem to manage, both mine did)

Edited by IanD
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11 minutes ago, IanD said:

ou seem to have an interesting definition of "minimal" -- here are the actual numbers:

 

"Although there will be some restrictions on where boats can moor to ensure that a safe navigation width is maintained, there will still be lots of mooring space.

  • In the Broxbourne water safety zone, there will be 1824 metres (5984 ft) of mooring space including 338 metres (1108ft) for wider craft.

338 vs 1824 minimal

 

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3 minutes ago, Phoenix_V said:

338 vs 1824 minimal

 

and 2279 vs. 4529 in the Lower Lee.

 

Could this perhaps because the river at Broxbourne is narrower, and currently clogged up with too many widebeams and double-moored boats?

 

Maybe somebody who actually knows the area (and who isn't an NBTA member) can comment?

Edited by IanD
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1 hour ago, IanD said:

So surely they'll be fine, they must have home moorings there because CART rules for CCing specifically say that it's not compatible with having children in schools and needing to stay in one small area?

 

Following complaints to an MP and intervention by that MP Mr Parry has now agreed that C&RT cannot disciminate against families with school age children and have introduced new 'rules' for cruising requirements for parents with school age children.

Basically 'shuffling about'  3 miles from school during school term and greater distances in the holidays is accepted.

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2 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Following complaints to an MP and intervention by that MP Mr Parry has now agreed that C&RT cannot disciminate against families with school age children and have introduced new 'rules' for cruising requirements for parents with school age children.

Basically 'shuffling about'  3 miles from school during school term and greater distances in the holidays is accepted.

True, but how many of the NBTA boaters in the article do you think even do that?

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13 minutes ago, IanD said:

True, but how many of the NBTA boaters in the article do you think even do that?

 

I have no idea, (probably not many, as they'd lose their parking spot) but it was via the NBTA that they got the concession from Parry

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20 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I have no idea, (probably not many, as they'd lose their parking spot) but it was via the NBTA that they got the concession from Parry

I know, and to me it seems like discrimination against everyone *without* school-age children -- why shouldn't they also be able to shuffle around in a 3 mile range for most of the year, with occasional holidays further away? I'm sure it would suit many people's lifestyles better than the CC rules that currently apply to child-free boaters ?

 

I'd love it if somebody brought this up as an objection, because I suspect that CART would have to reverse the "kids are special" ruling, since I can't see them allowing it to apply to all 30000+ boaters...

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7 minutes ago, IanD said:

I know, and to me it seems like discrimination against everyone *without* school-age children -- why shouldn't they also be able to shuffle around in a 3 mile range for most of the year, with occasional holidays further away? I'm sure it would suit many people's lifestyles better than the CC rules that currently apply to child-free boaters ?

 

 

Because parenthood is not a protected class under the 2010 equality act, I doubt that you can really argue that the childless are being unlawfully discriminated against. Then again, the law doesn't seem to be involved in these kinds of decisions.

 

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16 minutes ago, IanD said:

I know, and to me it seems like discrimination against everyone *without* school-age children -- why shouldn't they also be able to shuffle around in a 3 mile range for most of the year, with occasional holidays further away? I'm sure it would suit many people's lifestyles better than the CC rules that currently apply to child-free boaters ?

 

I'd love it if somebody brought this up as an objection, because I suspect that CART would have to reverse the "kids are special" ruling, since I can't see them allowing it to apply to all 30000+ boaters...

That would be quite interesting yes. 

 

We did cc a bit when first had the kids then got a mooring in London ten years ago. Council tax etc etc. I had been cc ing for 15 years prior to that myself but traveling widely as not constrained by work or children. 

 

Also my choice to live on a boat is not related to financial issues I would still live on a boat full time if I had ten million quid. No interest in owning property at all. Nil. 

 

A lot of people have turned up on boats in London specifically because it is a cheap way to live. It's obvious. This will at some point change and while the changes take place (slum clearance) people will start squealing about it. 

 

It's interesting to observe it. 

 

People living on boats are a minority group. That's a fact. If you wind up too many of the majority groups it will come back and bite you. 

 

Of course squatters don't care they just move on to the next thing if their activity gets outlawed. 

 

Never mind worse things happen at sea. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by magnetman
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37 minutes ago, IanD said:

I'd love it if somebody brought this up as an objection, because I suspect that CART would have to reverse the "kids are special" ruling, since I can't see them allowing it to apply to all 30000+ boaters...

 

It uis interesting to read the 2 paragraphs I have taken from Parry's letter to the MP.

 

Paragraph 1 says they will not amend or modify the legal requirement as it would be unfair on the other boaters.

 

Paragraph 2 shows how they can legally meet the requirement by moving only 3 miles during term time, and then a longer trip in the holidays.

 

If they are not modifying the requirements, and the suggested plan legally meets thr requirements then it MUST apply to all boaters ?

 

 

 

Screenshot (403).png

 

 

Taking, as an example, a boat based at Northchuch, you would be complying if during the 12/13 week term you cruised from Northchurch to Tring, back to Northchurch and Bourne end to Bulbourne , move a bit further for the end of term hoidays, back and repeat, for term 2, and repeat for term 3. Then for the summer holidays scoot off 'miles away'

 

The centre block (horizontally) show suggested term time movements, whilst the blocks above and below are 'acceptable' suggestions for holiday periods.

 

 

 

Screenshot (405).png

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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It does.

The requirement, is range of travel.

If you range over more than 20 miles, a year all is well.  Nothing to say that at which times of year that movement has to be, just that you have to do it.

 

Bod.

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25 minutes ago, Bod said:

Nothing to say that at which times of year that movement has to be, just that you have to do it.

 

So you are suggesting that scuttling backwards and forwards 1 mile per week for 51 weeks of the year, and then doing 20 mile in one week is acceptable ?

 

Maybe you should tell the C&RT Enforcement Management :

 

 

 

London Enforcement Manager Simon Cadek sent an email to a boater who was warned that they were on course for failing their six month restricted licence, telling them what they would need to do to pass.

When we are looking at boat movements we are looking for characteristics of bona fide navigation, these fall roughly into four categories:
 

· Range: by range we mean the furthest points a boat has travelled on the network, not merely the total distance travelled. While the BW act does not stipulate what that distance is the Trust has previously said that anyone travelling a range of less than say 20 miles (32km) would struggle to satisfy the Trust that they are engaged in bona fide navigation and that normally we would expect a greater range.
 

. For the avoidance of doubt, a small number of long journeys over a short period of time, followed or preceded by cruising in a small are of the network would not generally satisfy the Trust that you are engaged in bona fide navigation.
 

· Overstaying: we look to see how often boats overstay, either the 14 day limit on the main length of the canal, or shorter periods where local signage dictates, for example short stay visitor moorings.
While we are flexible with the occasional overstay from most boaters due to breakdown, illness or other emergencies, we will look at the overall pattern balanced with range and movement pattern in order to form a view.
Overstay reminders are issued when a boat is seen in the same area for more than 14 days. While we are unable to say how far you need to travel each time you move, we would advise that you normally travel further than a few km each time.

· Movement: Continuous Cruiser Licences are intended for bona fide (genuine) navigation around the network, rather than for a boat to remain in one mooring spot, place neighbourhood or area.

We would expect boats on these licences to move around the network such that they don’t gravitate back to favoured areas too often i.e. in a way that it’s clear to us that they’re living in a small area of the waterway.

The basic principle of this is that these licences are not intended for living in an area and if it looks like a boat is habitually returning to a particular part of the waterway then this would not generally satisfy the Trust.

Within an acceptable range we’d expect a genuine movement, so for example it would not satisfy the Trust if a boat went on a 60 mile trip during the course of say two weeks, then returned to cruise in an area of say 5 miles the remainder of the time (figures are examples only).

Generally speaking, the smaller the range the less we’d expect to see boats back at the same locations. Of course people need to turn around and they’re perfectly free to re-visit places they have been to before, it’s living in a small area on this kind of licence that would cause a problem.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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16 minutes ago, Bod said:

It does.

The requirement, is range of travel.

If you range over more than 20 miles, a year all is well.  Nothing to say that at which times of year that movement has to be, just that you have to do it.

 

Bod.

But the problem is that CART require "bona fide navigation". In the past some people have tried pushing the limits and moving by only a few miles most of the time, with the consequence of having their license renewal refused.

 

So let's say I'm on a boat and I claim the "kids school special exemption", so am allowed to spend most of the year in a small stretch of canal, with occasional holiday trips outside this -- which is what a lot of childless people living on boats would also dearly like to do.

 

Now I send said kids away to boarding school. Do I keep the exemption? Logically the answer must be "no", because I'm now in exactly the same position as the childless boaters.

 

This is a ridiculous loophole which CART were pushed into by NBTA shouting; it's crystal clear that the people taking advantage of it are not engaged in "bona fide navigation" in term-time, they're engaged in "bona fide mooring" as close to one spot (school) as possible. If they're allowed to do this, why aren't other people who want to stay in one spot (e.g. for work) except when they go on holiday? Are children going to a nearby school more important than adults going to a nearby job? If so, why?

 

Even CART's own document that Alan quoted shows that CART realise they can't allow all boaters to do this or it essentially destroys the purpose of the CC license. So what would happen if childless boaters adopted the same cruising (or non-cruising) pattern as the school-boaters, staying in one small area for two months at a time or more -- would CART try and stop their license renewal for breaking the T&Cs? And if they did, how can they not then do the same for the school-boaters?

 

The whole thing is an omnishambles...

Edited by IanD
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6 hours ago, IanD said:

and 2279 vs. 4529 in the Lower Lee.

 

Could this perhaps because the river at Broxbourne is narrower, and currently clogged up with too many widebeams and double-moored boats?

 

Maybe somebody who actually knows the area (and who isn't an NBTA member) can comment?

I'll explain it to you, like it or not there are now a large number of boats without mooring in the London and outer London area this creates pressure on towpath moorings and means the ability to cruise and stop somewhere congenial without worry  has disapeared for the rest of us. Tough but there it is. Now without producing any evidence CRT propose reducing mooring on 2 popular pounds. I can see why reducing moorings might be popular with rowers and noddy boat hire companies but can see no obvious reason why it would be popular with boaters. There is clearly a divide and rule scenario going on here with the wide beam owners being discriminated against which seems to be agreed as a bad thing. Now since you have asked I moor at Broxbourne at a club. Some of our members are partial to taking a short trip on an afternoon without going through locks. Some of our members have widebeams (not all big fat narrowboats but a fair few river cruisers 8' beam or so) they will be unable to to do so. There is no length reserved for widebeam, a short and usually full length as it is near the station and pub has been allocated to wide and narrow, chances of getting a mooring there will be zilch. The Lee is a widebeam waterway and is generally about 15-20m wide on this pound, trains of wide barges used to pass each other at speed years ago. I repeat we have seen no evidence to support these restrictions particularly the discrimination against widebeams.

I have not studied the restrictions proposed on the other pound but again it is a wide stretch of river and there is no reason to reduce mooring options for everyone and none to discriminate against widebeam owners.

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