The Canal and River Trust is planning to develop a new London Mooring Strategy to address the unique challenges of boating on England’s busiest waterways.

The number of boats on London’s canals just keeps on increasing, putting pressure on moorings, facilities and infrastructure. It is sometimes difficult for boaters to find a towpath mooring in the most popular areas, and available long-term moorings are also in short supply.

Over the past few years the Trust have carried out a number of trials and created some new long-term moorings and bookable moorings. They now intend to develop a new London Mooring Strategy in an attempt to manage the high number of boats in the city and help ensure fair sharing of water space. Their full statement on the proposed new mooring strategy outlines seven aims of the suggested policy, including generating additional income to maintain the waterways in London.

As part of the strategy the Trust are planning to trial pre-bookable short-stay mooring spots that will allow boaters to reserve a mooring berth, and they want to gauge interest in this. The intention is to avoid disappointment for visiting boaters arriving in the capital only to find no moorings available.They are asking boaters with an interest in pre-bookable moorings to complete a survey between Friday 1st July and Friday 26th August 2016.

However, The National Bargee Travellers Association London (NBTA London) believes that, “bookable moorings on the towpath are another way to take away the common land that IS the towpath from everyone. Towpath should be shared with all and not reduced to only people that can book a mooring.”

One of the questions in the survey asks if people are willing to pay for bookable moorings; so are bookable moorings only one step away from chargeable moorings? Could the towpath be turned into a business? NBTA London believe the towpath is for everyone, but are happy to work with CRT to investigate the idea of creating bookable moorings on the offside.

The survey offers boaters the opportunity to suggest improvements such as more facilities, more mooring rings and an end to reducing mooring times to less than the 14 days outlined in the law. Question 7 asks if you go to London how long do you think you would moor your boat, offering options of up to 7 nights. You can of course, write in the 'other' box, “no longer than 14 days” as specified in the law.

Question 9 asks if people want to pay for short-stay mooring spaces in London. I selected “No!” Keep the towpath public!

What do you think? Have your say by completing the survey here: London Bookable Moorings Survey.

Peggy Melmoth

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