The National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) campaigns and provides support and advice for boat dwellers without permanent moorings on Britain’s inland and coastal waterways. The NBTA is an unfunded organisation run entirely by volunteers. Membership is free of charge, in order to avoid excluding Bargee Travellers on low incomes. The NBTA encourages and relies on voluntary donations to carry out its activities. We need your help to make our efforts go further!
Update: A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to our appeal. You’ve raised over £800 so far. Please share and publicise the appeal.
The NBTA needs to cover its basic costs such as awareness raising, campaigning, meetings and most important, its casework assisting boat dwellers who are threatened with the loss of their homes. We expect the Bargee Traveller community to grow in the next five years due to the increasing costs of housing and because of people’s loss of income in the Covid-19 lockdowns. Throughout its existence, the NBTA has helped to resolve enforcement action against boat dwellers; has helped to stop liveaboards being evicted, and has campaigned against the loss of mooring space and for more boater facilities. You can help us to continue this work. We are very grateful to the members and supporters who have donated so far. Please give generously to our appeal!
You can make a donation direct to the NBTA bank account
You can give via PayPal
Please consider taking out a standing order, as regular income helps us to plan better
You can send a cheque by post to NBTA, 30 Silver Street, Reading, Berks RG1 2ST.
Thank you so much, we look forward to hearing from you!
Here are some examples of what the NBTA has achieved:
The NBTA has successfully influenced the policies of navigation and other authorities, especially regarding rights under the Equality Act 2010. In 2013, NBTA members with disabilities pioneered the exercise of their right to reasonable adjustments to Canal & River Trust’s (CRT) enforcement policy regarding boaters without a permanent mooring: they secured an agreement to moor for 14 days on 48-hour visitor moorings, which are purpose-built and therefore have better access for mobility scooter users. In 2014 the NBTA started a campaign to stop CRT evicting elderly, disabled and ill boaters. This was widely taken up and resulted in CRT employing a Welfare Officer. We helped to write the job description: the remit includes ensuring that CRT complies with the Equality Act.
After a seven-year campaign by the NBTA, boat dwellers were included for the first time in local authority accommodation needs assessments in the Housing and Planning Act 2016; in 2019 we published the Best Practice Guide for Boat Dweller Accommodation Needs Assessments. We also secured amendments and Undertakings to the Environment Agency (EA) Inland Waterways Order 2010 and the Middle Level Act 2018 in favour of boat dwellers, and contributed to the pioneering recognition by Oxford City Council in 2021 of boats as affordable housing. Also in 2021, a complaint by the NBTA led to the ending of the EA’s contract with a private company to enforce £150 daily mooring charges.
In 2012 the NBTA secured an undertaking from the Waterways Minister that the transfer of British Waterways to CRT in 2012 would include a seat for an itinerant liveaboard boater on the CRT’s Navigation Advisory Group. In 2015 and 2019 NBTA complaints ensured that boaters sanctioned by restricted 6-month licences could vote in the CRT Council elections; in 2020 an NBTA activist was elected to one of the Private Boating seats on the CRT governing Council.
From 2016 to 2018, we campaigned for less onerous travel requirements for itinerant boat dwellers with school age children on CRT waterways, with partial success. In 2020 a boat dweller won their appeal in the Upper Tribunal against the refusal of Housing Benefit for the boat licence fee. The NBTA assisted the appellant and handled the referral to Advocate for representation by a barrister. The decision has since been applied to Housing Costs in Universal Credit. In 2021, flotilla demonstrations against new mooring restrictions by CRT in East London resulted in CRT agreeing to consult and revise the proposals: the campaign continues.