CRT intensifies its attack on Bargee Travellers

On 10th March 2016 Canal & River Trust (CRT) announced that it was once again clamping down on boat dwellers without permanent moorings on its waterways.

In May 2015 a new policy came into force in which boaters without home moorings were obliged to navigate a given distance in the licence period (something CRT has no lawful authority to impose). If the boater failed, then their licence was not renewed or a shorter term licence was then issued instead.

The boater then had to navigate the same distance in this shorter period (or leave CRT waterways) removing them from their local connections: family; work; medical support; schools and local community.

These short-term licences were issued as an alternative to the issue of a Section 8 notice removing their boats from CRT’s waterways in any event. CRT stated on 10th March that it will now no longer issue these short-term licences for periods of three months, and will only issue them for a six-month period in exceptional circumstances. So most boaters without home moorings who have not travelled “far enough” will lose their homes.

With ever increasing downward pressure on boat dwellers without permanent moorings; persistent harassment; violations of privacy and lack of support for the needs of live-aboard boaters including provision of adequate facilities; repairs to faulty facilities; inadequate moorings in some towns and cities; continual encroachment on towpath mooring space in favour of visitor moorings and inadequate dredging affecting navigation and ability to moor where this is permitted, CRT’s agenda is clear.

The NBTA calls upon the live-aboard boating community to stand up to this determined attack on our way of life. Join the NBTA and stand with us to challenge this attack on our rights to live peaceably on the water.

The CRT press release on this change is here:

and CRT’s analysis of licences issued is here:

The NBTA is organising a demonstration on 16th April 2016 to demand that CRT:

  • stops evicting or threatening to evict boat dwellers without permanent moorings based on their travel pattern, because of an arbitrary and unlawful minimum distance ‘rule’ that has been imposed since last May
  • stops imposing 24 hour mooring time limits (the law entitles us to stay 14 days in any one place)
  • stops any plans for the sale of our waterways,

and instead takes positive action to:

  • maintain the banks and towpaths of the waterways
  • install more mooring rings where these are needed
  • install more facilities.

All are welcome to join this demonstration for our basic rights on Saturday 16th April 2016 at 12.30pm. Meet under the NBTA’s banner on the corner of Gower Street and Euston Road, London NW1 2BU and join the NBTA on the March for Health, Homes, Jobs and Education demonstration. The one key demand of the demonstration is for housing and that our community deserves better. We will not be alone. We will march with others demanding decent housing. We will hand in the petition below to Parliament demanding that the Government pressures CRT to stop its attack on boat dwellers without a permanent mooring:


We plan to take a picture of all the boat dwellers on the march to bring to another demonstration at the CRT offices a few weeks later.