BW appears to be going ahead with local mooring strategies in other areas which it defines as ‘hotspots’ before the pilot local mooring strategy on the Kennet and Avon Canal has even been drawn up and implemented. As far as we know, these areas are the Lee and Stort, Birmingham, the Macclesfield Canal and the Southern Grand Union.
As we have discovered from the consultations and the subsequent local mooring strategy steering group meetings on the Kennet and Avon, local mooring strategies are likely to be targeted at boats without moorings and especially at liveaboard boaters without moorings.
Photo: Bob Naylor KAcanalTIMES.co.uk
This seems to be confirmed by the fact that there is no mention of the Shropshire Union so far in the list of ‘hotspots’ even though it was identified as a ‘problem’ area in the consultations due to ‘a proliferation of end of garden moorings’.
There was due to be an internal BW meeting on 10 November to discuss setting up a local mooring strategy for the Lee and Stort, including the possibility of dividing it into 7 zones – which would only be relevant if the strategy targets continuous cruisers. This meeting was mentioned at the BW London User Group Meeting on 19 October. It was due to be followed by public meetings. We understand BW is looking for local councillors, possibly parish councillors, to sit on the local mooring strategy steering group.
The minutes of the 10 November internal meeting and details of plans for local mooring strategies should be obtainable from BW using the Freedom of Information Act. For information on how to use your right to know, see Your Right to Know by Friends of the Earth, linked from our web site. You can download and print it. See the article FOE FOI Handbook at http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/wordpress/?p=436
On the Kennet and Avon, liveaboard boaters have succeeded in being included on the local mooring strategy steering group after they and NABO (the National Association of Boat Owners) lobbied BW to follow through on a promise to include them which BW appeared to be reneging on.
In addition, Wiltshire Council has accepted that boat dwellers should be included in its obligation to assess and meet the housing needs of travellers under Section 225 of the 2004 Housing Act. Bath and NE Somerset Council is to include boat dwellers in its Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment. See our article Boaters are Travellers at http://kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk/wordpress/?p=626
The Head of Equality at Wiltshire Council is a member of the local mooring strategy steering group. Whatever proposals the local mooring strategy in your area makes, these have to be subject to an Equality Impact Assessment to ensure they do not have a disproportionate adverse impact on any group of people. This is a legal requirement under the 2010 Equality Act. So if a proposed local mooring strategy sets movement rules that would mean boat dwellers are forced to give up their homes in order to stay in their jobs, this is likely to be unlawful under the 2010 Equality Act.
According to Wiltshire’s Head of Equality, a small adverse impact on one group (such as hire boat companies having slightly fewer places their customers can moor) is justified if it avoids a disproportionate adverse impact on another group (such as liveaboard boaters without moorings). For more information, search our web site for ‘mooring policy’, ‘local mooring strategy’ and Freedom of Information’.