BW’s take on travellers

One of our correspondents recently asked Robin for British Waterways reaction to the recent DCLG ruling that ‘bargee travellers’ were bona-fide (couldn’t resist that one) travellers as far as Section 225 of the Housing Act 2004 is concerned.

Our very own Final Solution replied in her usual compassionate vein and, displaying a political skill we rarely see in Ms Ash, completely avoids answering the question.

And we just love her attempt to define ‘traveller’. I think we’re stepping into deep water there, dear.

Sent: 15 February 2010 11:30
To: Robin Evans
Subject: bargee travellers

Dear Mr Evans

I recently emailed you to ask if BW had any views, or taken any action relating to the below:

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has ruled that ‘bargee travellers’ are covered by Section 225 of the Housing Act 2004 I would like to ask you what provision British Waterways intends to make for bargee travellers on BW’s canal system?

As I have not received a reply from you I would like to check that you received my email and if so when I can expect a reply.


From: Sally Ash
Cc: Robin Evans
Sent: Mon, 1 March, 2010 15:52:21
Subject: RE: bargee travellers


We too understand from DCLG that bargee travellers may fit the definition of traveller within the context of housing legislation. This does not however change the fact that British Waterways, as a navigation authority, has no statutory housing duties or obligations, including for bargee travellers. We anticipate that a local housing authority would be satisfied that the accommodation needs of bargee travellers using our waterways were being met by the availability of towpath moorings on a 14 day basis to those making genuine journeys, which is of course the essence of the traveller’s lifestyle.

Even if that were not the case, it is the duty of the local housing authority to assess needs, prepare a strategy and take account of that strategy in exercising their functions.

Sally Ash
Head of Boating
01923 201229 / 07710 175448

This once agan trotting out the ‘we don’t do housing’ line – Well Sally we won’t want housing, the mooring rights conveyed by law are just fine thank you.

Can we assume from her reply that any attempt to reduce the number of 14 day moorings would have to take into account the needs of ‘bargee travellers’?

Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to “BW’s take on travellers”

  1. zaniyah MonsterID Icon zaniyah says:

    Maybe this explains why the bloke from the local council thought all people on boats were really only living on them because they couldn’t afford housing? When I said I lived on a boat, he started explaining in a sympathetic tone that he could put me (and any others who were also ‘in the same boat’) on the housing register!

  2. Paul Biddy MonsterID Icon Paul Biddy says:

    Yes, we have homes and do not seek additional housing from BW. As a public (navigation) authority, the Board have to consider itinerant boaters within the context of the Human Rights Act.