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Tuesday 30 August

BW abandons controversial Lee & Stort plans

British Waterways says it is stepping back from its radical charging proposals for managing overcrowding on the East London and the Lee & Stort Navigations. 

It what will be seen by some as a big concession, the organisation has announced it will “explore the potential for establishing a new facilitating body, such as a social enterprise, to help achieve a more sustainable model for residential boating on the Lee and Stort Navigations”.

The new proposals include a new type of ‘roving mooring permit’, allowing the continuous cruisers more freedom to choose where and when they moor, whilst still charging them extra.  The money from the permits would be ploughed back locally into extra facilities for these boaters. 

BW said it would also “set up a social enterprise encouraging a much greater element of local management through, for example, adoption of a code of conduct and opportunities for contributions to planning and operation of boater facilities”. 

As part of the move, BW has promised to employ more staff on this project, and to work closely with other interested parties, including local councils and representatives of waterway users, to develop the detail of a new plan. 

Some of the criticism in recent years is that the ‘liveaboard continuous cruisers’ have made it harder for genuine visiting boaters to find spaces at visitor moorings and ‘hotspots’. BW said it would look for a way of ensuring such space is kept available for boaters who are genuinely just ‘passing through’. 

The housing minister, Grant Shapps, last week promised a new flexibility in granting planning permission for residential moorings, and BW said it would work with local councils on the Lee & Stort to create such moorings. 

It is also looking to keep future growth in boat numbers at a ‘sustainable level’.

This winter, British Waterways will be offering winter mooring permits at five locations between Stonebridge and Hertford, and says it believes that during the Olympics next year there is room for the hundreds of visiting boats expected and the existing London boaters without major disruption. 

Sally Ash, head of boating at British Waterways, said: “We recognise that the residential boating communities that have grown up along the towpath have a particular vested interest in their continued availability as a place to live. We hope very much that stakeholder representatives will support the concept of a new body to accelerate the development of better arrangements for boaters, and will help us to make this happen.

Liveaboard boats on the Lee at Cheshunt.


Andrew Denny  | 4.25pm

Friday 26 August

Today's news from the web

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    The River Thames close to the Reading Festival site has been lowered by six inches (15cm) to help water drain from the campsite. The Environment Agency, which controls the river levels, said lowering it gave "more leeway" to combat flooding. The river levels have been reduced by opening weirs downstream of the site to allow more water through. Heavy rain is predicted for Friday, the first day of the festival, according to the BBC and the Met Office....

  • Windsor Castle will be powered by hydro-electricity from Romney weir bbc.co.uk

    Windsor Castle will be powered by hydro-electricity, the royal household has said. The castle will be supplied by Southeast Power Engineering Ltd (SEPEL), after former renewable energy plans were halted in 2009. Two hydro-electric turbines at Romney Weir on the River Thames will be lifted into position by a crane in late September, the firm said. The 40-tonne Archimedes Screw turbines will be ready to operate from November....

Wednesday 24 August

Today's news from the web

  • Boaters hit by canal vandalism at Wigan wigantoday.net

    Fed-up boaters were stuck on Wigan’s canal for more than half a day after the water was drained by vandals overnight. Four canal boats were moored on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, opposite the Shanghai Palace off Poolstock Lane, when youths damaged the locks in Chapel Lane, causing the water level to drop to such a level the basin was almost dry. It took almost a day for an operative from British Waterways to refill the canal....

Sunday 21 August

Today's news from the web

  • 'Boat' hotel to be hoisted above Thames dailymail.co.uk

    A bizarre new hotel - shaped like a boat - is to be placed on top of the Queen Elizabeth Concert hall peering out over the River Thames. The nautical building, due to be hoisted into position in December, will be equipped with a mast and look-out station and guests will be expected to keep a detailed log and hoist a flag to indicate they are aboard....

  • You can take the slow lane all the way down the River Lot independent.co.uk

    For the past 24 hours we have been creeping noiselessly down the Lot River in a solar-powered floating hotel, designed by our captain, Dominique Renouf. She launched her Lot cruise this summer, having decamped from the overcrowded Canal du Midi in search of peace. And she has certainly found it here – all morning, the beating of herons' wings and the occasional cry of some mournful water creature are all that have broken the silence....

  • Thames 'twins' with Ganges oxfordmail.co.uk

    The River Thames is to twin with the River Ganges in India in a £210,000 initiative to share ways to protect wildlife and reduce pollution. Indian scientists will visit the UK to learn how the Thames was restored from being biologically dead in the 1950s to become one of the cleanest urban rivers in the world. Villagers along 1,660 kilometres of the upper Ganges and its tributary will be helped to look after their rivers by changing farming methods and reducing pressure on fish stocks. The Thames Rivers Restoration Trust is funding the project using prize money from the 2010 Theiss Riverprize....

  • Full steam ahead for Crofton Pumping Station gazetteandherald.co.uk

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  • Tackling Rod Licence Evasion in Stoke environment-agency.gov.uk

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  • ‘Canal network grinding to halt’ says Braunston marina MD Tim Coghlan northamptonchron.co.uk

    Northamptonshire's historic canal network is “grinding to a halt” due of a chronic lack of rain and too many boats on the water, the managing director of a county marina has warned. A dry summer and falling water levels, combined with increasing numbers of boaters hitting the county’s popular stretches of canal and a huge increase in local marinas, has left the waterways “close to meltdown”. Tim Coghlan, managing director at Braunston Marina, said the lack of rain and heavy traffic had seen the height of the canals fall dramatically this summer. The water in his marina, he said, had fallen by around eight inches....

  • Thames Tunnel project commitment to use river transport for construction edie.net

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Saturday 20 August

Today's news from the web

  • I forgot, I don't like family vacations guardian.co.uk

    To plan a holiday properly, you should sit and visualise spending 24 hours a day with your family [Peter White] "Size, or the lack of it, is the key ­factor … they are, after all, called narrowboats" If the makers of the returning Big Brother series really want to plumb the depths of human incompatibility, may I respectfully suggest that they insert their celebrities into a narrowboat (70ft by 7ft), and set them adrift on the Kennet and Avon canal. Ingredients they might consider adding to ensure maximum angst: a seven-year-old boy who knows no fear; a nine-year-old girl who's almost too good to be true; a teenager who believes life without her computer is equivalent to being bombed back to the stone age. Oh yes, and just to make sure: three distinct, but inter-related families, who all know that there is only one right way to do everything, and it's theirs. I know this is a winning formula: I've just done it, and I bear the scars....

Thursday 18 August

Blue-green algae found on Worcester & Birmingham canal

Blue green algae (BGA) has been reported during the summer in the Worcester & Birmingham canal at Alvechurch, and at the nearby Bittell reservoir, one of the canal's main reservoirs. Some blue-green algae are capable of producing toxins, but blue-green algal blooms and scums are not always toxic and it is not possible to tell from its appearance whether a bloom or scum is harmful.

Andrew Denny  | 2.57pm

Today's news from the web

  • Boaters wanted to help charity canoeists through tunnels waterscape.com

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  • Birmingham-to-Worcester canal walk in memory of dad worcesternews.co.uk

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  • One hundred swimmers gear up for Henley-Marlow swim visitthames.co.uk

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  • 18th British Rowing Tour Lancaster Canal britishrowing.org

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  • The Wherryman's Way - Future Radio 107.8FM futureradio.co.uk

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  • Union angered by director bonuses at British Waterways civilsociety.co.uk

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