News article created on 16 December 2016

London Boating Bulletin: December 2016

This month we are announcing a new system for booking a mooring at Rembrandt Gardens in Little Venice. And we have the details of our Open Weekend at St Pancras Lock, changes to the winter stoppages and a May 2017 cruise of the waterways of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Photo of St Pancras Lock, Regents Canal St Pancras Lock, Kings Cross

Winter stoppages

There have been changes to our winter stoppage programme in London. Make sure you are up to date:

18 November to 20 December – the Paddington Arm is now closed at Bridge 7D, and will reopen in time for Christmas.

28 November to 15 January – bridge 23 on the Lee Navigation is now being worked on by Network Rail. It will be passable until 20 December and then from 4 January, but closed at other times.

4 January to 31 March – Brick Lock (Lock 14) on the Stort will be closed. This was to have ended on 17 March but has been extended.

9 January to 10 February – the Regent’s will be closed at St Pancras Lock (Lock 4). This was brought forward for the original dates.

There are others. Don’t get caught out.

Join us for a winter Open Weekend at St Pancras - 4 & 5 February 2017

Nothing stands in the way of progress … and this was taken literally by the builders of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link when they moved an entire water tower to St Pancras Lock to make way for the Eurostar.

Find out how they did that – and a whole host of other fascinating historical facts – at the St Pancras Lock Open Weekend in early February, part of a nationwide, £43 million repair and restoration programme run by the Canal & River Trust.

During the open weekend, 4 & 5 February 2017, visitors will get the chance to learn more from heritage experts, engineers and volunteers about St Pancras Locks on the Regent’s Canal, in particular the replacements of the top and bottom lock gates. Built in 1819, the paired locks were designed to save water by transferring it between locks rather than discharging it all into the lower pound.

Visitors will be able to walk in the drained lock chamber, seeing at first hand the exceptional engineering work that helped construct the canal originally, and talk to the Trust’s experts about the essential restoration and repair work being carried out.

During the weekend, visitors will be offered guided heritage walks from the lock to Islington Tunnel. The Trust will be teaming up with local trip boat operator, Hidden Depths, to offer boat trips from outside the lock up to the London Canal Museum.

Visitors with a head for heights will also get the rare chance to go to the top of the St Pancras water tower. This was originally built to supply steam trains with water, the Grade II-listed tower was moved in sections by a huge crane to its current canalside location in November 2001.

Would you like to volunteer to help at the Open Weekend? Staff and volunteers will be out in force to guide people around and show them the sights. If you’d like to get involved, get in touch with

Bookable moorings at Rembrandt Gardens

As trailed in November’s bulletin, we’re introducing a new way of booking moorings at Rembrandt Gardens and we’ll be going live on 16 December. From this day, you’ll be able to book moorings until the end of October 2017. Please visit our website for more information.

London Mooring Strategy progress

As we reported last month, in early November we held a successful event with London-region local authorities to explore partnership working. Here’s our presentation from the event, which includes some of the opportunities and challenges that the London Mooring Strategy will help to address by working in partnership. We’ve now followed up the event with on-site meetings with some of local authorities who were in attendance, to discuss their emerging planning policies and opportunities for moorings and other services. We’ve also been busy providing formal input to various Local Plan reviews and other planning policy documents, as a statutory consultee on planning matters affecting the waterways.

The results of the survey that we ran in September 2016 to help better understand ‘who’s on London’s boats’ were also shared at the event, and we’ve now published the summary report. The findings will be used alongside other information and input from stakeholders to help inform the London Mooring Strategy.

Top tips for reducing smoke emissions

In the October edition we featured a blog by our national boating team about how to be a good neighbour while still keeping warm with a solid fuel stove. As the winter closes in we thought it would be good to remind boaters about some of the top tips for being a good neighbour in winter, written by one of our own boaty staff.

We do ask all customers to be considerate when using a solid fuel stove, especially in very heavily populated areas. Why go looking for troubles when troubles can come and find you and possibly impact on our wonderful floating lifestyle? Here’s a few top tips for not smoking everyone out!

  • keep fuel dry as far as is practical and use the right fuel for your stove.
  • use smokeless fuels – I promise you that if you use cheap house coal you’ll have to sweep your chimney every week and repaint your boat in the spring! Been there, done that, got the grubby T-shirt.
  • only add fuel a little at a time, adding a lot in one go produces lots of smoke, especially if it’s damp.
  • never ever burn plastics, chipboard, treated wood and other types of rubbish, there’s more environmentally friendly and less dangerously smoky ways of disposal.

There's more good advice and top tips on using your stove available on the internet, see the blog for details.

Inspection of the Maida Hill Tunnel

The 200-year old Maida Hill Tunnel, which carries the Regent’s Canal under Edgware Road, was inspected on Tuesday 6 December.


Our engineers used a boat to travel through the tunnel to assess any structural changes that have occurred, including checking for cracks and damage to brick work. Their observations will now be analysed, before it’s decided if any major repairs are needed.

Work began on the tunnel in 1812, before completion in 1816. The earth excavated when the tunnel was first dug was used to level land just north of the canal, which became the site of Lord’s cricket ground. The building of the canal had cut through what had been the outfield of the previous ground.

East London Waterways Festival

To mark the restoration of Carpenters Road Lock a cavalcade cruising opportunity in the Bow Back Rivers will be available over bank holiday weekend 26 to 28 May 2017. Register now to join a wider celebration of East London Waterways, regeneration of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Waterways and restoration of what will be the only double radial lock gate in the United Kingdom. Weather permitting there will also be opportunity for tidal extension incorporating Bow Creek and the tidal Thames. To express interest in the cruise, please send your boat name and index number to

Christmas Opening times at the Docklands Office

For the Christmas break, the Canal & River Trust office in London's Docklands will be closed for the following periods:

  • From noon to 2pm on Tuesday 20 December
  • Noon on Friday 23 December to 9am on 3 January 2017

Licences, keys and pump-out cards can be purchased from our website and from our Customer Service Team on 0303 040 4040. Please be aware that this team will not be available 24 to 27 December and then 31 December to 2 January 2017.

Pump-out cards are also available from the Waterside Café in Little Venice and the Brewery Tap in Brentford.

Bird flu prevention measures

On 6 December 2016 Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government announced Avian Influenza Prevention Zones to help protect poultry from a highly pathogenic strain (H5N8) of avian flu that was found to be present in Europe this Autumn. The zones cover the whole of England, Scotland and Wales and will remain in place for 30 days (until 6 January 2017). This decision has been taken because of the increased risk of avian influenza (bird flu) reaching the UK. There is no evidence of transmission to humans, however the virus can be devastating to commercial and wild bird populations. While at present no cases have been reported or found in the UK, Defra is continuing to monitor the situation closely. Please follow this guidance:

  • If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or 5 or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, you should report them to the Defra helpline (Tel: 03459 33 55 77) – they may choose to send a government vet to collect the bodies for testing
  • Don't pick up or touch birds (dead or alive); contact the Trust.

Crime on the Haggerston Riviera

Please be aware that the police have reported some muggings at night on the canal in Hackney. Stay safe, don’t approach and report anything to the police.

vInspired Eco Talent

Mary Saakian is the Waterway’s new Youth Volunteer Coordinator for the vInspired Eco Talent project.

She is very excited to work with bright young people aged 16-25 years old, discovering the hidden beauties of the canals and the environment in general. Mary has been coordinating volunteering and work experience opportunities for young people more than three years. “I am proud to say that I have witnessed life-changing moments,” Mary said. “And the vInspired Eco Talent Project can definitely offer a life-changing experience.” If you are:

  • 16-25 years old
  • Interested in the environment
  • Willing to make a difference to your local community with a new Social Action Project

Then, you should definitely join us. Please email for more details. The first cohort starts on 9 January 2017.

Explorers Education Volunteer at Carpenters Road Lock

We have a small team delivering fun and inspiring sessions to schools, groups and families in Enfield, Waltham Forest, Hackney, and Tower Hamlets. We are now aiming to expand the team, which will enable us to start supporting school visits from Carpenters Road Lock at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as well as visiting schools and groups in the surrounding areas (Borough of Newham).

We are looking for people who can volunteer flexibly, can commit to at least 3-4 days a month (mainly week days) – usually between 9am – 3:30pm. We'll provide you with resources and full training on how to deliver our sessions to children. You'll also have the support of an education coordinator as well as the other volunteers in your team, and we'll reimburse you for all travel costs. No experience is necessary, though we do welcome confident speakers and those who have experience of working with children.

Christmas Fayre at the House Mill

A fabulous Christmas Fayre was celebrated at Three Mills, with a guest appearance from the Big Man himself.

Can you identify the Trust’s member of staff who’s getting in to the Christmas spirit in the photo above? First correct answer to wins a prize! (This competition is not open to members of staff).

Have a great Christmas and all the best for 2017!

About this blog

London & South East Regional Bulletin

Sorwar Ahmed is Boating Manager for the Canal & River Trust's London & South East region. He engages with our customers and communities to improve boating serivces and the experience of the waterways for everyone! In this Bulletin he gives a regular round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in the waterways of London & the South East.

See more blogs from this author