The K&A Local Waterway Partnership Moorings Sub-Group delivered its proposals for the local mooring strategy to a meeting of the full Partnership on 31st January. Whilst focusing mainly on resolving issues surrounding the use and availability of visitor moorings, another aim of the Moorings Sub-Group is to ensure that boaters without home moorings on the western Kennet and Avon have local guidance that enables them to plan their navigation and know how far they have to travel in order to comply with Section 17 3 c ii of the 1995 British Waterways Act. The Sub-Group’s proposals include a request to CRT to guarantee that boaters between Bath and Devizes who adhere to this local guidance will not be subject to enforcement action.
The draft local mooring strategy includes defined ‘neighbourhoods’ which boaters must not spend more than 14 continuous days in unless it is reasonable for them to stay longer; an expectation not to return to a place that they left 14 days ago; an expectation to travel at least 2 kilometres to a different place after 14 days in one place, and a minimum distance of 20 lock-kilometres that a boat must travel during its licence period (most licences are 12 months).
The draft plan also includes changing all visitor mooring time limits to 48 hours; introducing maximum stays per month on visitor moorings; closer monitoring of visitor moorings, and introduction of a rationed system of extended visitor mooring stay permits at £10 per day. If a £10 charge is incurred but not paid, the debt would be collected through the Small Claims court, not by refusing to renew the boat licence.
This would be accompanied by a voluntary agreement to leave spaces between moored boats for anglers to use. The plan also proposes that the Local Waterways Partnership sets up a standing committee of boaters who will assess what is reasonable in the circumstances each time a boater needs to stay longer than 14 days in one place. Boaters who feel they have a genuine reason to extend their stay for more than 14 days would have to provide details to this local forum. Once they have done so, the boaters would assume approval unless they are informed otherwise.
The Moorings Sub-Group did not take up the idea of ‘roving’ or ‘community’ mooring permits, partly on the grounds that this would further restrict the available mooring space for holiday, leisure and live-aboard boaters.
A mechanism for consultation on these proposals is now being considered by the Partnership. The K&A Mooring Plan that Sally Ash drew up in August 2012 also included a significant expansion of the length of some visitor moorings, which the Partnership will consider at a later date.
The Partnership, now chaired by Tamsin Phipps, has responded positively to the proposals from the sub-group and has also agreed to assess some issues raised by Sally Ash who was a surprise attendee at the meeting. There will now be one or two more meetings of the Moorings Sub-Group before the local mooring strategy is finalised for approval by the Partnership and further consultation.