News article created on 25 June 2018

Mooring strategy to address popularity of London's waterways

With the number of boats on London’s canals and rivers growing by 76% since 2012, we are announcing a raft of initiatives that will benefit boaters and help manage the strain placed on the capital’s 200-year old network.

Boats moored in basin with London Docklands in background London Docklands

We have produced a London Mooring Strategy in consultation with boaters, boating groups, and local authorities, amongst others.  Initiatives include managing the increasing demand for mooring spaces, improving facilities, and fairly balancing the needs of everyone who uses the capital’s waters.  

In 2018/19, we will be making the following improvements:

  • Water points:
    • New taps at Harlseden, Sturt’s Lock (Shoreditch), Bow Locks, Alperton
    • Improve water pressure at Paddington Basin
    • Relocate tap from Old Ford to Sweetwater (Olympic Park)
  • Waste facilities:
    • New compounds at Harlesden, Feildes Weir (Hoddesdon), Stonebridge Lock
  • Elsan (toilet) facilities:
    • Carry out feasibility work to open an Elsan to the public on the Regent’s Canal
  • Working with boaters and volunteers to install additional mooring rings
  • Residential moorings developed at Millwall Outer Dock and Hayes
  • Pre-bookable moorings developed in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on St Thomas’s Creek (up to two berths), and on the Lee Navigation adjacent to the Park (three berths)
  • Clear signage for ‘watersports zones’ at Broxbourne and on the Lower Lee Navigation
  • Improved information at noticeboards, welcome stations and front-of-house

Customer priorities for which we hope to secure funding in future years include:

  • Development of 1800m of new long-term offside moorings, the majority of which, subject to planning permission, will be for residential use
  • More mooring rings to increase 14-day mooring capacity
  • Changes to short-term moorings to ensure the fairer use of space
  • New facilities to meet growing customer demand, and improvement of existing sites
  • Working with boaters to provide boating information and advice, as well as working with police to address concerns about towpath safety
  • Creation of opportunities for boating businesses in key visitor destinations
  • The introduction of further new pre-bookable visitor mooring sites following a review of demand, and a free pre-bookable eco-mooring zone

Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at the Trust, said: "What used to be the capital’s best kept secret has gained popular appeal, and London’s canals are busier than at any time in recent history.

"There are fantastic opportunities for water-based businesses, myriad ways to enjoy leisure time, and they are a place that many people call home. The resulting boom in boat numbers has caused an enormous amount of pressure on what is, after all, a finite space.

"The London Mooring Strategy is the result of our collaborative work with boaters, boating groups, local authorities, developers, and other stakeholders such as rowing groups. There’s been a good level of support for the proposals and, following an extensive consultation, we’ve listened to feedback and made changes as a result. Now we’ll work with boaters and other stakeholders to put the improvements into place and make things better for boaters and sustainable for our canals and rivers."

To develop the London Mooring Strategy, the Trust held various workshops, consultation meetings, and engagement events, as well as conducting a wide-ranging survey of boaters in the London region.  These helped shape a comprehensive strategy that identified detailed plans for each different London ‘character area’. In autumn 2017 the Trust conducted an open survey consultation on the proposals. The consultation closed in January 2018 having received over 1,200 responses. 

The full report, with a detailed breakdown of the improvements, can be found at: