For Clean Air Day 2021, we are working closely with the London Borough of Islington to provide the first eco visitor moorings in the country.
Supported by funding from The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), we are working with Islington Council to install electric charging points to provide boaters with an alternative to running their boat engines or generators when moored, and are offering a programme of energy advice and support for boaters.
This comes as the issue of air quality gains greater public attention, with both local and national government committed to measures to reduce air pollution.
The first of its kind
The Islington eco-mooring is the first of its kind in England and once fully completed will result in the Regent's Canal in Islington being an electric eco-mooring, offering low carbon energy.
Originally constructed to serve the transport needs of the Industrial Revolution more than 200 years ago, the Regent's Canal is now at the forefront of the new ‘Green Industrial Revolution'. We are working with councils on carbon friendly projects, sustainable urban drainage, support for biodiversity and development of traffic free transport routes for people.
The eco visitor moorings will help air quality in and around the canal with electrical power supply points at Colebrooke Row, Caledonian Road and York Way (the latter to be available from August 2021). The use of mains green tariff electricity instead of fossil fuels will enable boaters to cut their carbon emissions as well as reducing local pollution.
A greener way of life
While living on the waterways can be a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice, in some busy areas the impact of engine noise and fumes can affect both waterside residents, towpath users and boaters themselves. Boaters live close to nature and many embrace green solutions like solar panels and clean fuel. The eco visitor moorings will enable boaters to reduce their reliance on using their engines, or diesel generators, for energy to support a greener way of life.
Stakeholder engagement is an important element of the project and the delivery team will engage with the boating community and others to raise awareness of air pollution health impacts and the climate emergency. Although the overall air pollution impact of canal boats is relatively localised and minor compared with road traffic emissions, research from the Canal & River Trust has shown that the people with the highest exposure and health risks are boaters themselves.
Reducing air pollution
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council's Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said “We are working hard to create a greener, cleaner Islington that can achieve net zero carbon status by 2030. Key to achieving this is reducing air pollution, which remains a major public health emergency costing thousands of lives in the UK every year.
“By bringing cleaner power supplies to the Regent's Canal, we can help to bring cleaner air to boaters and all local people, reduce noise on the canal, and give boaters the opportunity to increase their use of mains electricity as an energy source.
“We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Canal & River Trust on future schemes, and to highlight the benefits of using cleaner, greener fuel.”
We all have a role to play
Ros Daniels, our director for London & South East said, “Air pollution is something that affects every one of us and we all have a role to play in its reduction.
“Many boaters are very eco-conscious, and these moorings can give an alternative to diesel or solid fuel sources, while still being available to those who do not yet have a mains connection.
“As custodians of 2,000 miles of waterways we want to ensure that we are playing our part in the government's Clean Air Strategy and on Clean Air Day are pleased to be working with Islington to offer different choices to boaters.”