Not the halcyon existence they thought

Published: Monday, 04 September 2017

THE people believing that moving on to a boat to live on the waterways in London are finding it is not the halcyon existence they thought it to be as many are discovering.

The latest to complain is Adam Fletcher who has recently moved on to a narrowboat on the Regents Canal believing it would be 'a charming, peaceful life', but tells that his dreams have been dashed, Alan Tilbury reports.

Peace is constantly being broken

His complaint is that his peace is constantly being broken by neighbours, whom he describes as 'couple of 30-somethings priced out of the London housing market, he complaining that they play loud music and run their generators late into the night, and asked what he can do to get them to move on.

But as they are residential moorings, he has been advised to contact the local council that has a duty to investigate any nuisance, but says it is just not responding. He has also been advised to contact Canal & River Trust, as by creating a nuisance after a certain time they are in breach of their licence—if they have one—and that they will be removed if they continue.

The advisor obviously is not aware of the very slow machinations of the Trust, and so had better try another mooring—if he can find one.



The first thing you should do is determine whether they are on a residential mooring or are simply “continuously cruising”. If they are cruising, then they will need to move on within 14 days and the problem will likely go away by itself. Alas, I think they might have a residential mooring. In that case, you should establish who owns your neighbour’s mooring and get in touch with them. If they’re causing a disturbance, it is likely that they will be in breach of the conditions of their mooring agreement. Under these circumstances, the owner of the mooring may terminate the agreement and ask them to move on. If your neighbour fails to do so, the mooring owner will be entitled to damages, and could legally remove the boat themselves. They must surely be in breach. The boat is a complete tip most of the time. If contacting the mooring owners doesn’t work, you could make a complaint to your local council. Local authorities have a duty to investigate any statutory nuisance, including noise, smoke or a build-up of rubbish. I’ve spoken to the council already, but it’s taking them ages to respond. There is one more thing you could try. As I’m sure you are aware, all barge owners need a licence, which they can get by fulfilling conditions set by the Canal and River Trust (CRT), which has responsibility for maintaining the peaceful enjoyment of the waterway. Conditions include having up-to-date insurance and a Boat Safety Scheme Certificate (similar to an MOT). If you suspect that your neighbours have not fulfilled their licence conditions — perhaps they don’t have insurance — you could make a complaint to the CRT. It has funds set aside for investigation and enforcement of the rules, and can revoke your neighbour’s licence if they fall short. They will receive written warnings first, but if they fail to comply the CRT or its enforcement agent is likely to remove their boat from the water. Adam Fletcher is a trainee solicitor at Farrer & Co.