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News article created on 29 July 2016

London Boating Bulletin: July

This month we have the latest on winter moorings, hearing about the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park cruise and talking about duck weed. Lots of duck weed.

Canal wall works

Cruise of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park waterways 

On Saturday 9 July, visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park witnessed the magnificent sight of a flotilla of 60 boats on the Bow Back Rivers, taking in Three Mills Island and the waterways around the Stadium Island and across the Park. The event was organised by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the Canal & River Trust, St Pancras Cruising Club and Inland Waterways Association and proved to be a huge success. We are now entering the final stages of our ambitious ten year project to fully open the area’s historic network of canals and rivers. Check out the video footage of the cruise!

Do you have an interest in heritage and enjoy meeting new people?

Be part of telling the story of Carpenters Road Lock, which is being restored with funding from Canal & River Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, London Legacy Development Corporation and Inland Waterways Association. The lock, in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is significant from an engineering point of view, as it had the only ‘double radial lock gates’ in the country, with a rich industrial history and many individual stories to be told. 

As part of the restoration, we’re offering a unique opportunity to learn a range of new oral history skills that will communicate the history of Carpenters Road Lock.  These workshops are open to anyone and being delivered by Eastside Community Heritage. The workshops will be held on the 8, 9 and 10 September 2016 from 10.30am - 3.30pm at 1 Stratford Place E20. One additional workshop will be held on site at Carpenters Road Lock on the 15 October. Please note that numbers are limited and booking is essential. If you are interested contact us by Thursday 25 August 2016.

Duck weed

Hopefully you will have seen our teams across the network engaged in the painstaking task of removing millions of pieces of floating duck weed from the water, which multiplies rapidly in the heat.

While an individual piece of duck weed is no bigger than a ladybird, congregated together they can resemble a thick carpet across the canal. This accumulates litter, which is very unsightly and can be problematic for craft on the water. The weed is not harmful to people, but dogs and other animals have been known to mistake it for grass, and ended up in the water. Significantly, if left to thrive, it can cause problems for other aquatic wildlife by starving it of oxygen and sunlight. In the right conditions, a mass of duck weed can double in size every two or three days. In one week alone, over 70 tonnes of duck weed has been collected by our teams.

Winter moorings news

Whilst winter may still seem a long way off, we’ve just announced our plans for offering winter moorings again for 2016-17. We’ve listened to boaters’ feedback on last year’s winter mooring spots and have made changes to reflect their suggestions. This year there will be four price bands, reflecting each site’s relative attractiveness, for example location and facilities, and to ensure the Trust stays in line with the pricing of both private mooring operators and its own long-term mooring sites. 

There is a selection of sites near facilities, as well as quieter spots for boaters who want a bit more peace. In the London Waterway region, we’re replacing the sites at Slough Basin and West Drayton with Langley and Hayes town centre, and we are no longer offering Rye House on the Lee and one of the Bulls Bridge sites on the Grand Union. A final list of the winter mooring sites and prices is available. 

As Easter falls later this year, winter moorings will be available from 1 November 2016 to 31 March 2017. Both continuous cruisers and boaters with a home mooring will be able to take up a winter mooring. However, as with last year, boaters who are not meeting their licence requirements may not be eligible.

All winter mooring permits will be charged at a ‘per metre, per month’ rate, and boaters will be able to book the spots for one to five months. Bookings will open on 3 October 2016, and will be made through the Trust’s boat licensing site. Boaters will be able to look at sites on the system from the beginning of September.

See our website for more information, call us on 0303 040 4040 or email.

London mooring strategy sounding board

Following suggestions at the engagement workshop held in Camden in May, a ‘sounding board’ of waterway users joined the Better Relationships Group on 28 July to hear about progress with the London mooring strategy and provide input to the initiatives we are developing. There was discussion about boating etiquette and over-arching principles to inform mooring principles, as well suggestions for how to improve a forthcoming survey on the demand for long-term moorings. The group also commented on plans being developed for a visitor mooring at Kings Cross following consultation last year, and heard about plans to consult on a DEFRA-funded project to investigate the installation of electric charging points on the Regent’s Canal in Islington. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time, and to the Pirate Castle for hosting us. Notes will be published shortly and will be available on the London pages of our website.

Trial electric charging points planned at Islington moorings

The Canal & River Trust and Islington Council have won funding from DEFRA for electric charging points on the Regent’s Canal in Islington. The project is in its early stages, so there will now be a period of discussions and consultations involving the Trust, the Council, boaters, canal users and other stakeholders to think about where the electric points should be located and how they should be managed.

In developing a London mooring strategy and specific plans for the central Regent’s Canal we have been discussing with boaters and other stakeholders a range of ideas, including eco-zones – where boats can get their power from electricity, not diesel engines – and how living on the waterways can be a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice. Islington is a popular spot for boats and the electric bollards could reduce the impact of engine noise and smoke that can affect both waterside residents and other boaters. Boaters will be able to use these charging points to top up their electricity and they will provide an alternative to running boat engines to generate energy.

Sorwar Ahmed, London Boater Liaison Manager at the Canal & River Trust, said:  “In a busy city it’s more important than ever to be environmentally-minded and think about how the things you do can affect the people around you. Boaters live very close to nature and many are keen to embrace green initiatives like solar panels and clean fuel. I’m delighted that we’ve got the funding to trial these electric points, which will give boaters another option for topping up their batteries in town. Now we need to work with boaters and the wider community to see how they could work in practise.”

Are you in Hackney tonight?

Hackney WickED Late: Greased Up is taking place at Micks Garage, Queen's Yard, E9 5EN from 6pm-11pm tonight (29 July). It promises to be “an explosive evening of Installation, Live Art and Performance that will leave you exhausted”. For more information, please visit Facebook.

And how about Limehouse tomorrow?

The latest in a series of hugely successful markets in Limehouse Basin is taking place this Saturday 30 July. Expect Pimms, Brazilian flavours, gourmet burgers, dance workshops, yurts, farmers’ stalls and so much more. The fun starts at 11am at Limehouse Basin, 2 Minutes from Limehouse DLR, E14 7JZ.

Bank of America’s interns blitz the waterways

We’re really grateful to the Bank of America and their keen young interns for volunteering across the waterways in recent weeks. Huge amounts of litter were cleared, as well as the odd shopping trolley. They tackled graffiti, trimmed back vegetation and all together made areas sparkle.

Lights, camera … Action!

Film crews are far from an uncommon sight on London’s canals. We caught up with Cassie, the Trust’s Filming & Campaigns Executive to find out more. “The main part of my role involves responding to enquiries from film, TV and advertising companies and giving them permission to use our canals and rivers for filming and photography shoots. I have to make sure that these companies consider everyone else who uses the canals when planning their shoots and I make sure there aren’t any clashes or safety issues. No two days are ever the same in this role, I get some really bizarre requests every now and then! I love that I get a chance to get out of the office on a regular basis and visit lots of amazing waterside locations for research or recces.

“In the past two years we’ve had some really exciting filming in London; Dead dog Basin in Camden doubled up as a secret underground entrance to Q’s workshop in the James Bond film SPECTRE, the London waterway team boat ‘Jena’ took a cameo role as a secret hideout in ‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’ and you may have spotted the Regent’s Canal at the end of the Kray Twin’s biopic ‘Legend’. The towpaths are also popular with fashion photographers – Mario Testino has photographed supermodels against the backdrop of the Grand Union Canal several times.”

All this filming activity brings in valuable income for the Trust, which helps us improve our waterways for everyone.

New Welcome Station opens at the Ware Festival

The IWA’s Ware Festival was a huge success, with hundreds of people enjoying the sights. Sir Brian Fender, Chair of the London Waterway Partnership and the Mayor of Ware opened our beautiful new Welcome Station, where volunteers welcome cyclists, boaters and pedestrians to the towpath and share a bit of information about who we are. Pop in and say “hello” the next time you’re in the area.

Angel Canal Festival

The Angel Canal Festival is taking place on 4 September this year. This annual event is based around the Regent’s Canal’s City Road Lock and local streets in Islington. It promises to be a really great day and we hope to see you there!

Hampstead Road Lock Open Weekend – 3 and 4 September

There will be work on the lock gates at Hampstead Road Lock (Lock 1 on the Regent’s and often known as Camden Lock) this autumn. As there are two functioning locks, the navigation will remain open at all times.

Whilst we have no water in Lock 1A (to the south) we're giving everyone the chance to walk down into the depths of the lock to see what it looks like from a brand new perspective. Our experts will be on hand to answer any questions you have and you'll find out how we keep these 200-year-old structures in working order. Just bring your friends and family along for a rare chance to see this famous London landmark in a new light. This will be on 3 and 4 September.

Hayes Canal Festival 2016

On 25 September, take to the water on trip boats, canoes and paddleboards, try your hand at fishing, have your face painted, wander through the stalls or just sit back and enjoy some great food, dance and music by the waterside. All in all a splashing good time for all the family.

The family event, which is now in its third year, is run by the Canal & River Trust with support from Hillingdon Canal Partnership, Thames 21, IWA Middlesex Branch, the Metropolitan Police, High Point Plaza and the local community.

The event is being supported by Hillingdon Community Trust while a schools education project linked to the festival is being supported by Botwell & Townfield Ward Councillors via their ward budgets.

Water levels

Our teams work hard to maintain water levels across the network. Topping up one pound will impact on others and the teams will be considering this in any action they take. We know that it can sometimes be tempting to make immediate improvements where you are by opening lock paddles, but we ask that everyone avoid doing this. Instead, contact us and we’ll investigate.

Some recent improvements

Towpath at Sturt’s Lock before:


Isle of Crocs: the Docklands Alligator

And finally, much to the disappointment of some national journalists, stories of an alligator in Millwall Outer Dock turned out to be a bit ropey:


About this blog

London Boating Bulletin

Sorwar Ahmed is Boater Liaison Manager for the Canal & River Trust in London. He’s engaging communities and developing social enterprises to improve the waterways for everyone! Every month he gives a round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in London’s canals

See more blogs from London Boating Bulletin