East London User Group Meeting




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East London User Group Meeting

Name

Organisation

Attendees




Angela Barrett

Lee Valley Boat Centre

Robbie Barrett

Stort Boat Club

Sue Barrett

Stort Boat Club

Robin Bishop

IWA Middlesex branch

Maurice Eldridge

BCC (London Region AWCC)

Sandra Green

HNBOC

Bob Langley

Lee & Stort Cruising Club

Mike Price

Rammey Marsh Cruising Club

Helen Smith

Stort Boat Club

John Smith

Stort Boat Club

Adrian Stott




Frank Wallder

IWA Lee & Stort

Ged Wigglesworth

Lee Valley Boat Centre

Alan Wildman

Residential Boat Owners Association







Phil Adshead

BW

Kim Dale

BW

Jamey France

BW

Jon Guest (chair)

BW

Laura Raine (notes)

BW

Sam Thomas

BW

Belinda Phillips

BW







Apologies
















Jon Guest welcomed everyone and attending members of British Waterways’ staff introduced themselves.

Review of Previous Notes

Page 3


Q - Angela Barrett enquired about the site of the swimming pool demolished by Lee Valley Park – as they have open planning permission is there potential for BW to create moorings here?

A - Jon Guest advised that BW are a statutory consultee for planning applications in the vicinity of waterways. Ordinarily our Planning Team pre-empt applications and contact the developer. BW currently have a good relationship with Lee Valley Park, given the existing co-operation with regard to the Olympics.

Page 4

Q - Bob Langley queried action taken regarding the number of craft moored above Lower Lock, which may have been encouraged to remain during the winter stoppage at this site.



A - Jon Guest advised that the comments at the previous meeting were passed to our Enforcement Staff. Jamey France further advised that at the time of his last site visit here on 17 May there were 4 craft in the pound, so those at this location two days ago have moved there this week.

Q - Robbie Barrett asked how much income had been generated through overstay charges.

A - Kim Dale advised that there is an issue with enforcing this charge – the £25 totals don’t cover the costs incurred in staff hours required. Jon Guest further explained that evidence in the form of recorded boat sightings is required before charges may be applied. The enforcement Team are aware of particular sites with noted issues and they are working to address the problem if overstaying craft.

C - Adrian Stott suggested that BW should select specific sites and have staff attending on a daily basis to gather evidence – the towpath length opposite Springfield Marina, where there are approx 40 craft moored, would be a worthwhile location to invest staff time.

A - Jon Guest advised that there are problems arising from having a relatively small team covering an extensive mile-length of waterways. Arrangements are now being made for better deployment of the existing staffing resources.

Q - Sue Barrett asked why the overstay charge was introduced if it cannot be enforced.

A - Jon Guest advised that the charge was introduced at the same time as stop and shop moorings, approx 10 years ago, at which time BW was very different from today.

C - Maurice Eldridge suggested increasing the charge and assigning the enforcement of this to contractors.

A - Kim Dale advised that BW are giving consideration (as was referred to in the recent moorings consultation) to involving local stakeholders and volunteers in gathering boat sighting information, as BW cannot tackle the issue of overstaying craft with the existing staffing resources. A trial of this scheme is to be undertaken on the Kennet & Avon Canal and if successful transferred to the Rivers Lee and Stort.

C - Adrian Stott commented that this issue should be made a priority in the current national review of BW bylaws.

Page 6

Jon Guest advised that Simon Bamford is now in a new national role as Head of Operational Efficiency, and the position of Waterways Manager has been assumed by himself while Sam Thomas takes over as London’s Maintenance Manager.



Page 7

C - Bob Langley advised that the Hertford Visitor Mooring site has three craft which appear to be overstaying, as they are covered for protection.

C - Frank Wallder opined that there should be provision in the bylaws to permit craft to be moved if their current mooring location along a visitor mooring stretch causes a nuisance to other boaters and prevents them from mooring.

A - Jon Guest advised that it’s unlikely boaters will be permitted to re-site craft, however BW staff can already do this if there are safety concerns.

Page 8

C - Mike Price advised that since the planned stoppage at Rammey Marsh Lock was completed the pound below has constantly drained, as Enfield Lock is still leaking badly. BW were forewarned of this by RMCC at the last User Group Meeting, and the pound is now refilled on a daily basis by Cruising Club members.



A - Jamey France advised that no reports have been received of low water levels in the pound between Rammey Marsh and Enfield Locks, and no out of hours calls have been made to address this issue at this location. While the cruising club members have maintained the water levels, this has meant that the scale of the problem has not been relayed to BW. Works have been undertaken to minimise leakage through the bottom gates of Enfield Lock and signage installed at the site, requesting boaters close the top gates when finished locking through, as been replaced eight times in six months. Jon Guest further advised that there are plans for fendering on lock gates in winter 2010-11 and Enfield Lock will be assessed as part of these works.

C - Adrian Stott advised that this pound used to be fed from the river alongside until piling was installed – is it possible to reinstate this feed to maintain water levels?

A - Jon Guest advised that the piling was installed below the water level, so does not inhibit water movement.

General Q & A

Q - Robbie Barrett queried the ‘colour scheme’ plans for visitor moorings proposed in the recent moorings consultation and advised that this new initiative must still be policed so the resources being put into this may be better directed to deploying more staff.

A - Kim Dale advised that part of this new initiative is working with volunteers and Local Authorities to address the issue of overstaying craft. In addition to this, assistance will be gained from these Local Authorities in addressing what is effectively a housing issue, which is beyond the scope of BW’s authority.

C - Robbie Barrett commented that there are a number of sites which are effectively unauthorised housing estates of boats.

A - Kim Dale advised that BW cannot solve this issue alone and the co-operation of Local Authorities is required.

Q - Alan Wildman asked if BW had given consideration to the provision of less costly long term moorings, as a possible solution to the issue of non-continuously cruising craft.

A - Kim Dale advised that there are boat owners who live on the water as it is perceived to be less costly that renting or purchasing property. In these instances, the offer of moorings at a lower cost will not be taken up. Jon Guest advised that, in accordance with BW’s online mooring reduction policy, offline sites are definitely the preferred option for the creation of moorings. However, the cost of land and lack of availability in and around the Capital makes construction of new sites difficult and rare. Progress has been made in the enforcement of licensing and continuous cruising requirements in the past few years and this should not be permitted to revert.

C - Maurice Eldridge commented that as long as BW continue to be perceived as unable to enforce the existing regulations, issues will continue and escalate.

A - Jon Guest advised that enforcement processes can be lengthy – evidence is required and the process may require culmination in a court of law – so while there is no outward sign of action, there is a great deal being done without the knowledge of the general boating population. Eight craft have very recently been removed from the River Lee at Enfield, as the result of enforcement action. The seizing of these craft is being publicised to advise boat owners that BW can and do use the existing enforcement procedures with positive results.

C - Adrian Stott commented that a lack of action is not the problem, however it is effective action which is needed.

Jon Guest advised that all comments will be passed to London’s Enforcement Team.

C – Sue Barrett requested that when it is necessary to close the towpath at Old Ford Lock on the Regent’s Canal, can greater consideration be given to the needs of boaters when installing temporary fencing.

A - Sam Thomas advised that the decision to place the fencing inside the bollards was made by himself, as the dewatered weir alongside the lock posed a risk to public safety in the form of a potential fall from height. Jon Guest advised that similar concerns have been raised in relation to ongoing works at City Road Lock. Currently the method for a project is set by the Contractor and agreed by an Engineer – the point now noted is that greater input is required from Boating Staff to ensure the needs of boat owners are met.

C – Angela Barrett advised that as of the end of October Lee Valley Boats would no longer be offering holiday hire of craft –this is sadly not cost effective, however the fleet of day boats will be increasing.

Q - Mike Price raised concerns regarding flytipping under the M25 bridge – this has been raised repeatedly and Mike’s own investigations have led to Lee Valley Park, BW and the Highways Agency all advising the land is not theirs. Also, the towpath litter bins in the vicinity of the cruising club are not being emptied.

A - Jamey France advised that as far as BW are aware, the land between the navigation and the fence at the rear of the towpath is BW’s – beyond this it is the Highways Agency’s land. Jon Guest further explained that the Highways Agency took control of the land to permit the construction of the M25. After the works were complete the strip of land alongside the navigation was returned to BW’s ownership.

With regard to the litter bins, Jon advised that London’s Contracts Manager is aware of this issue. BW undertook installation of dog bins around the region as part of a national incentive, a short while prior to changes in legislation which permitted the disposal of dog waste with other general litter. The replacement of the dog bins with standard refuse bins was then undertaken, and it sadly seems that this has created litter problems at a small number of sites where no such issue existed before. Sam Thomas added that the replacement of bins in West London has proved to be a successful project.

Q - Adrian Stott asked if BW own the land the towpaths in London are located upon, as the usual extent is navigation rights.

A - Jon Guest advised that the majority of the land is owned.

C - Mike Price advised that craft moored below Waltham Town Lock have been there for some time and have disposed of a number of large bags of refuse in the bushes alongside the craft.

A - Jamey France advised that this was noted and would be attended to.

Q - Robbie Barrett enquired what arrangements had been made for boating during the Olympics.

A - Jon Guest advised that BW are in discussion with the ODA. Definite plans have not yet been made, however safety and security considerations are paramount and BW will have to adhere to any restrictions imposed by the Police.

Q - Bob Langley enquired about the planned project to upgrade the mechanised locks on the River Lee.

A - Phil Adshead advised that this project is due to commence in the next few weeks.

Q - Sue Barrett asked about the provision of more mooring rings at the Limehouse Basin visitor mooring site.

A - Jon Guest advised that there had been no advancement of plans for installation of more, and added that this would be done as part of a larger project ie Limehouse Quay.

Q - Maurice Eldridge queried the response given to a question submitted in advance of the meeting regarding usage of self pump out equipment – as there is currently no provision for usage of such equipment on the Rivers Lee and Stort, is this to be addressed? Other regions are aware of the need and have installed signage on existing suitable (mains connection) elsan facilities to advise boaters.

A - Jon Guest advised that concerns regarding sites with both elsan and BW pump out – obstruction in the elsan is pushed further in by self pump out and becomes a complete blockage. Further usage by self PO and the facility backs up. Such instances may also have negative impact on BW PO.

Q - Bob Langley queried the facilities at Bishop’s Stortford, reasoning that the presence of a BW PO meant there is a mains connection – could this site be used for self PO equipment?

A - Jamey France advised that the common practice noted to date is the usage of thin pipes and lifting manhole covers to empty waste tank. This gives rise to a number of H & S concerns, but also potential for the system backing up, as it is not designed for the capacity / volume of a self PO.

Q - Adrian Stott asked if there are any existing sites suitable for usage of self PO equipment?



A - Jon Guest advised that BWL can identify potential locations, based on whether a mains connection or tank. However, further investigation beyond this is still required, as other concerns have been raised regarding back infection and Legionnaires Disease.


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