One of the areas identified by British Waterways as a ‘problem area’ that needs action is the River Lee in London and the connected London waterways. The River Lee is another example of a vibrant boating community that feels under threat from Sally Ash’s proposals to restrict mooring rights.
This is the letter of complaint sent by a member of that community to Robin Evans;
Dear Mr Evans
I do not have confidence in the moorings “consultation” recently carried out by BW. I have learnt that this “consultation” was conducted on the internet, and to a lesser extent by post. In many instances bargees, in the London area, and quite likely nationally, do not have access to the internet, and many do not have a regular postal addresses either. The extent of the “consultation’s” reach must therefore have been limited. This notion is supported by the fact that most members of our community did not hear of it in time to make a response. This includes those bargees who do have internet access.
I have carried out a survey of the London bargee community and to my knowledge no one in our community had an input into your “consultation”. We also have reports that the body of the “consultation” was unclear and confusing. Some bargees had the following comments to make regarding your “consultation” …
“I was so angry that we had no consultations whatsoever I had nothing in the post or on my boat”
“No – didn’t hear about it.”
“Our friend told us about it the last night we had a chance to respond to it. I intended to try to respond but the questions were so ambiguous it really confused me”.
“No I never heard about it.”
For the reasons outlined above I argue that British Waterway’s moorings “consultation” failed to consult in an effective way with the bargee community in London. I therefore do not consider your “moorings consultation” to have been inclusive. As such I hold the view that it could not provide your organisation with sufficiently balanced or complete information for decision making on any new moorings policy.
Members of our community have children in local schools, and family, friends and jobs on or near the London waterways. New patterns of movement recommended, and/or enforced, in a new moorings policy could adversely effect the lives of the London Bargee Community. I therefore reserve the right of non-compliance with any new regulations you may base on this “consultation”.
This letter is for your information. For the reasons outlined above it is also a formal complaint.
I look forward to your reply.