A group of fourteen boaters from the K&A joined the national Boats Are Homes march on Saturday 8th April 2017. The demonstration was organised in protest against CRT’s unlawful enforcement policy against boaters without home moorings. Boat dwellers from all over the waterways took part. The march was organised by the National Bargee Travellers Association.
The boaters marched to number 10 Downing Street to hand in the ‘Boats Are Homes’ petition to the Prime Minister which has been signed by more than 33,300 people. The petition calls on the Prime Minister to intervene to stop Canal & River Trust making boat dwellers homeless and to keep the so-called charity’s enforcement activities in check.
The 200-strong march then continued to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Smith Square to hand in a letter demanding that the Government takes responsibility for stopping CRT’s unlawful enforcement policy against boat dwellers.
One of the main effects of the intensification of CRT’s enforcement policy is the denial of access to education for boat families with school age children. This is a key reason why so many boat dweller families took part in the demonstration. The campaign for boat dweller children to have equal access to education continues. Please sign, share and tweet this petition
CRT introduced its current enforcement policy in May 2015. This sets requirements that go beyond the British Waterways Act 1995. The 1995 Act clearly states that boats without a permanent mooring should travel to a different place every 14 days, but it contains no requirement to travel a minimum distance or to follow any specific cruising pattern beyond this.
The law has not changed since 1995 but boat dwellers whose licences have been renewed without any issues going back 10 or 20 years have recently been told that their annual travel patterns are no longer compliant.
No boater without a home mooring who complies with the 14 day limit in one place should have their home threatened with removal. This is not what Parliament intended when it passed the British Waterways Act 1995. The law was written in such a way as to accommodate a range of different patterns of boat use.