London boaters say they are being forced out

Published: Wednesday, 13 December 2017

RESIDENT boaters in London are taking to the media, including the BBC, to complain of Canal & River Trust's attitude towards them.

They are complaining that the Trust is 'trying to force them off the water to make money', using exaggerated statistics to further its intentions of cutting down on mooring spaces in the capital whilst upping the fees for the remaining, with boaters fearing they will be priced-out of certain popular areas, Keith Gudgin reports.


Though a 'consultation' is underway that ends this month, many believe that the decisions have already been made, backing it with rather dubious statistics, stating that the number of boats in London has risen from 2,326 in 2012 to now over 4,000 that it states is an increase of 72%.

CaRT adds that continuous cruisers have doubled from 638 in 2012 to 1,880 in 2017, and have produced a graph to prove it.

The BBC investigated the number of resident moorings at present available in the capital and discovered that at present there are only five, with one at £12,000 a year.

CaRT's strategy

CaRT's Draft London Mooring Strategy proposes to reduce the maximum stay at some moorings from 14 days to two days in central locations, and make a charge for moorings that will be pre-bookable. Many moorings would be for businesses only at a high rent.

However, Marcus Trower, Chairman of the National Bargee Travellers Association, which represents many continuous cruisers, complains:

"The strategy had the perfect recipe for gentrification, turning places into business zones where we wouldn't be allowed to moor and reducing mooring times to encourage leisure cruisers rather than people who live on boats.

CaRT is trying to force us off the water and turn the waterways into a money-making business."

The comments

Oliver Hewett, stated that it feels like CaRT is pricing us out. Another, Helen Brice, remarked that the proposals were a way of sending continuous cruisers off the water and making their life as difficult as possible. Yet another, Thea Smith, another continuous cruiser, believed that the current strategy shows the waterways are on a trajectory of gentrification.

In a statement from the Trust it explained:

"Overall we are aiming to make life better and fairer for every type of boater—including those who choose to live on their boats. There has been a massive increase in boats in London, causing pressure on space and facilities. We have to manage the space fairly for all boaters—if we didn't there would be chaos.

"In many cases the proposals will improve life for live-aboard boaters, creating more places to get water, empty toilets and dispose of rubbish."