We received this lovely message from a boater in London recently.
“I am so glad that you are working on all this, hopefully with support. I don’t know if this is useful for you but here are my experiences from travels and at home. I cycled along the K and A recently and saw the space that you refer to that is turning into a battleground. It confirmed your reports of commercial interest on that stretch. I reckon 1 in 2 boats I saw were hire fleet boats and there seemed to be about 5 different companies operating them. The bottom line with BW is always money and what I understand from your web site is that the current discussions seem to focus on allowing hire fleets greater access to popular mooring spots, commercial licensing being more valuable to BW. In London the pressures are different. The canal-side property has generated much revenue and the Olympics being next to the Lea has generated lots of handouts to BW from the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority). While the event is on, pontoon pay moorings will be created with lots of expensive extras, power hook ups etc, many of which will probably be kept after the event. Most boaters here are starting to understand this. Attempts to monitor moorings are sporadic, many new BW staff have appeared and the overall approach varies from ambivalence to intimidation though this is usually confronted leading to a backing down on BW’s side. The many parties involved including EA, the ODA as mentioned before, Lea Valley Park Authority (who have severe problems with BW’s attempts at being dominant) and a myriad of Local Authorities make the picture complex and they mostly fight with one another. The Lea has been considered as another possible test location for new mooring policy so I am not being smug here, I know your liberties are being attacked there, I support what you are doing and I let boaters here know what is happening to you, and we may well be under greater threat soon. All the best.”