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Navigating and living on the waterways of Great Britain & Ireland and news of canal developments.
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TOPIC: EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!)

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 19 May 2020 15:39 #116084

  • Andy Soper
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'Dear Stakeholder,

Please see attached the fifth important external communication to our boating customers, which has just been approved for distribution. It contains further new information about our approach to restarting navigation on our waterways, as soon as we can and no later than 1 June. This will also be reflected in updated Navigation FAQs to be released later today.

Many thanks and best wishes

Andy Wilkinson'

This has a little more sense of urgency - we shall see!

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 19 May 2020 15:34 #116083

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'Dear Stakeholder,

Please see attached the fifth important external communication to our boating customers, which has just been approved for distribution. It contains further new information about our approach to restarting navigation on our waterways, as soon as we can and no later than 1 June. This will also be reflected in updated Navigation FAQs to be released later today.

Many thanks and best wishes

Andy Wilkinson'

This has a little more sense of urgency - we shall see!

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 14 May 2020 19:07 #115949

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Another disappointing EA e-mail. It started badly with a typo in the title Classification rather than Clarification.

The text is:

Navconsultation
14:57 (3 hours ago)
to Navconsultation

Good afternoon

Following our updated guidance note which we issued yesterday, I wanted to clarify for you our decision to continue to ask boaters to avoid all non-essential travel on our waterways for the next few weeks. I do understand that this might be confusing for those you represent now that some other Navigation Authorities have changed their advice on non-essential travel.
Although Defra have announced that water sports can resume including motor cruising, they are clear that this is at the discretion of the Navigation Authority. We have reviewed our situation and made our decisions with the safety of our customers and our staff as the most important consideration. We have not been able to undertake patrols on the waterways since the high flows earlier in the year due to social distancing guidelines. We know there are some hazards out there such as sunken boats and fallen trees. So we need to ensure that we have identified all hazards before letting people head out on the water for leisure purposes. We are working hard to carry out urgent inspections of the channels and assets for faults to ensure the safety of boaters before we change our advice on non-essential boat movement. We will complete these checks as soon as possible and will issue relevant advice to anyone traveling on the water once our advice changes. We aim to change our advice on non-essential travel by June at the latest on all our Waterways. Until then boaters who do need to travel must be extra vigilant when moving on the waterways and do so at their own risk.
We anticipate that even when we change our advice, we will still need to issue local guidance to alert people to known hazards as we continue to work our way through the required maintenance programme. Some of these tasks will be slower than normal because of the need to adhere to the new safe working practices guidance issued by Government.
We ask our customers to be patient with us. We are keen to get people boating as soon as we can but the nature of the rivers and our structures means we are unable to do this as quickly as some other Navigation Authorities. We aim to resume leisure cruising by June if not before.
We are planning another communication to customer later this week to clarify our position but if you could help with explaining to your members I would really appreciate it.

Many thanks,
Alice Mayne

Deputy Director of Navigation and Commercial Development

As you can see they have little intention of opening their waterways until June
I find the last sentence particularly galling - I am not sure how I justify the complete inactivity of EA over the last two months to manage and check their waters and then to open them to all except those of us who pay them the most.
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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 13 May 2020 16:02 #115921

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Updated today - see attached.

Unfortunately this is nothing like as positive as the other authorities (CRT, NT-Wey and Broads. They are basically saying canoeists, rowers and paddleboarders can do what they like from today but motorboats can only be used for essential journeys and they will tell us when they get round to writing all of their risk assessments and clearing trees vans and the sunken wide-beam from the river. They suggest they will send a plan 'in the coming weeks'.

They go on to remind you that you must have a valid registration and BSS (expiry waived until 31 July)

I am unhappy about this disappointing (dismal?) response and consulting with ATYC, RBOA, NABO and TMBA on a joint response to EA. Remember CRT have already extended licences by one month for free and are planning on opening their whole network on 1 June.

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 22 Apr 2020 18:51 #115483

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And a more positive note from Vicky Sanders addressing the Thames issues in her forwarding e-mail.

Dear TNUF Member
I hope you and your families continue to be safe and well.

Please see attached the third important communication from Alice Mayne about the impact of Coronavirus on our inland navigations and the approach we are taking for boating customers. It contains important new information about boat registration, charges and ways to pay to make it easier for those who might be struggling.
We are sending this directly to almost 13,000 boat registration customers by email and to other national stakeholder groups representing both leisure and commercial boating interests. Please also circulate to your members where you can. The guidance will be added to gov.uk as soon as possible and will be found at this link www.gov.uk/government/publications/environment-agency-waterways-coronavirus-covid-19-update .
With regard to more local issues, at present our colleagues in Operations Management are only dealing with major incidents presenting a risk to life or a significant risk to the environment. Lock breakdowns and obstructions in the river which make it impassable for boats do not present a risk to life or a significant risk to the environment. However, at a national level we are exploring potential safe ways of working for our staff and contractors so that we are able to carry out other tasks in the field. We are progressing this as quickly as we can and also assessing which tasks would need to be carried out as a priority, based on the risks they present. We are feeding into that work to ensure that our critical assets, our weirs especially, are prioritised appropriately. Work to ensure that obstructions from the river are removed as soon as it is safe to do so is also underway.

Best wishes
Vicky



Vicky Sanders
Waterways Operations Manager, Thames

Environment Agency | Waterways Office, Environment Agency, Shepperton Lock Island, Middlesex, TW17 9LW

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 20 Apr 2020 19:15 #115385

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Updated today and attached:
Pay up - but direct debit or bank transfer only methods available (NO Credit cards)
Clearly staff safety is paramount (avoid all contact with customers including by phone!)
Navigation blockages cannot be cleared - social distancing of staff.

But - we are a leisure and not essential activity .........

April 2020: Guidance Note 3
Following our last communication we wanted to expand on some of the measures we are
taking on Environment Agency navigations. We are continuing to follow Government advice
during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and our main priority remains protecting the
health of our staff, customers and the general public.
Since our last message the Government have stated that it is too early to make a change to the
current heightened response to the Coronavirus emergency. We therefore reiterate the advice
to stop non-essential travel on our waterways and to make journeys only to access essential
services and facilities. We expect these restrictions to remain in place until at least the middle
of May 2020. We realise this is difficult at the time our customers are traditionally getting their
boats ready and heading out onto the waterways.
Boat registration
The provisions of the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010 mean that owners
of all boats kept or used on our waterways need to register them and pay the registration
charge. The income we receive from boat registration charges is vital for us to continue to
manage and maintain our waterways, ensuring people and the environment are protected from
harm. We have made adjustments to our working practices to work within the new restrictions,
so our staff are continuing to work hard to monitor and manage water levels and provide an
appropriate level of service and maintenance.
We recognise the wide range of challenges Coronavirus is causing across the country and that
some customers are particularly affected by the recent measures to restrict the impact of the
virus. We do understand that some customers may now experience difficulty in paying for their
registration in a single amount and there are several payment options available at this
exceptional time. Customers who are renewing their registration can get in touch with our Boat
Registration team to discuss the payment options we can offer to help. Please call 0330 159
1983 from 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For any general navigation enquiries including making a new application customers should call
03708 506506.
Due to changing our ways of working to meet Government guidance we are unable to take card
payments over the phone or receive applications by post at the moment. When you contact us
you will be given 3 options of how to pay for your registration (see payments method section at
the end of this message for more detail):
> Set up a direct debit
> Pay by bank transfer or
> Receive an invoice
Please also note that you are not required to travel to your boat specifically to display your
registration certificate.

Boat Safety Scheme
We are extending the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certification until 11 May 2020 for those
customers whose certificates have recently expired or are about to expire within the next few
months. This will be reviewed as the situation develops but we understand that for now
customers are not able to get new certification without breaching current government
restrictions and advice. This approach is in line with the agreed position issued by the BSS on
behalf of ourselves and the Canal & River Trust.

What we are doing to maintain safe operations
We are working hard to deliver our critical asset management activities to keep our waterways
safe and to support essential travel. In providing this service we are operating in line with the
government’s guideline that people should stay at home except for essential travel. This aims
to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and ensure we protect the health and wellbeing of our
staff, contractors and the general public.
This means we are:
Operating our assets, where possible, to provide passage to essential facilities that support the
welfare of residential boaters (water, pump outs, fuel points etc.). We will not provide assisted
passage at sites that can be self-operated by boaters for essential travel; we will only operate
those locks where our staff have to provide this service and this will be done with a safe system
of work to ensure social distancing is complied with.
Maintaining our assets to support these critical activities where it is safe to do so and safe
access to the asset is possible and social distancing requirements can be met.
Continuing to assure the performance, statutory compliance and reliability of our assets that
support the provision of welfare services by carrying out inspections at those critical assets
where safe to do so.
Provided we can do so safely, and in line with Government guidance, we will respond to
incidents that pose an immediate risk to users of the waterway, for example asset failure that
prevents essential passage or responding to blockages that significantly affect water level
management and could therefore present a risk to public or staff safety.
Where it is safe and practicable to do so, and in line with current government construction
advice, we will continue to invest in our asset base to improve the condition and reliability of our
assets. This means we will be able to continue investing the £14.8m of capital funding provided
for navigation by government this financial year.
Thank you all for your co-operation during these very challenging times for everyone.
You will appreciate our National Customer Contact Centre is very busy at this time, please help
us by getting in touch only if it's essential. If you do need to contact us, we encourage you to
email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For the full Government guidance on coronavirus go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Alice Mayne
Deputy Director for Navigation and Commercial Development

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Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted) 02 Apr 2020 17:46 #115084

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From EA today - attached

In short:
Only essential boat movements to services
No registration holiday - if it floats pay up
BSS renewal holiday to 14 April (but likely to be extended - but talk to your insurance company)
Review of navigation charging on hold

Text:
These are fast changing times and following our last communication we wanted to expand on some of the measures we are taking on Environment Agency navigations. We are continuing to follow Government advice during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and our main priority remains protecting the health of our staff, customers and the general public. Since our last communication a week ago, we have seen the movement of boats on our waterways reduce and would like to thank those adhering to Government guidance. However, we are still seeing some non-essential travel. We therefore reiterate our advice to stop non-essential travel on our waterways and to make journeys only to access essential services and facilities.
Boat registration and Boat Safety Scheme
We need to continue management and regulation of our waterways in order to protect the environment and the public. The basis of funding for this work remains our fees and charges, including for boat registration and moorings. This means:
• If you keep or use your boat on one of our waterways, you still need to register it as required by the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010. The income we receive from boat registration is vital for us to continue to manage and maintain our waterways.
• We understand the challenges Coronavirus is causing and that some customers are particularly affected by the recent measures to restrict the spread of the virus.
• As our Boat Registration team is working remotely at the moment in line with Government guidance, we are not able to print and send out registration plates. Therefore, when you register, you will only receive confirmation of your payment by email. We will send your registration plate as soon as we are able to do so. In the meantime we will not expect you to display a valid registration plate on your boat.
• We understand that some customers may have Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certification which has expired or is due to expire within the next few months. As customers are not able to get new certification at this time due to the current government restrictions and advice, we will be extending certification until 14 April 2020. This is in line with the agreed position issued by the BSS on behalf of ourselves and the Canal & River Trust.
• You will be aware that we have been carrying out a strategic review of our boat registration charges and are due to consult on our proposals this spring. We recognise now is not the right time for a consultation of this nature and we have taken the decision to postpone this work. This means implementation of a new charge scheme will be delayed until 2022.
What we are doing to maintain safe operations
• The Environment Agency will continue to provide an appropriate level of waterway management, regulation and services for our customers during these extraordinary times and ensure that the environment is protected. We have agreed ways of working for our operational field teams to reduce the risk to themselves and the public of contracting Coronavirus whilst undertaking essential work.
• Currently, where it is possible to safely carry out construction or maintenance work on our assets we will try to do so. Any work will of course be dependent on a safe system of work being in place which complies with the current social distancing requirements.
• We advise customers who are navigating to access essential services or facilities to be aware of the possibility of unmarked hazards or obstructions to navigation (such as fallen trees and shoals). As we have had to reduce operations by our staff, we are unable to respond to these as normal. Therefore we ask customers to exercise particular care and caution on our waterways at this time.
We will be keeping these restrictions under constant review in the light of the developing situation and advice from Government, but we expect them to be in place until at least 14 April 2020. Again, our priority is to keep our staff and customers safe.
You will appreciate our National Customer Contact Centre is very busy at this time, please help us by getting in touch only if it’s essential. If you do need to contact us, we encourage you to email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For the full Government guidance on coronavirus go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Thank you all for your co-operation during these very challenging times for everyone.
Alice Mayne
Deputy Director for Navigation and Commercial Development

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Andy Soper
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mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 25 Mar 2020 16:46 #114879

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From EA this afternoon -


Dear Customer

These are unprecedented times and here at the Environment Agency we have been working hard to make sure our response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic follows Government advice, in the best interests of the health of our staff and customers.
We have done our best to maintain our sites and services as close as possible to business as usual, keeping waterways and facilities open for everyone to enjoy afloat and on foot, subject to following Government guidance.
Following Monday’s announcement from the Prime Minister about the UK’s heightened response to the Coronavirus emergency, we have taken the difficult decision to introduce limits to the use of our waterways to stop all non-essential travel.
This means:
• We are asking the owners of all boats kept or used on our managed waterways not to make any journeys on their boats, other than to access essential services and facilities.
• We will not provide ‘assisted passage’ (staff to operate locks) at any of our lock sites but locks will remain open for self-service use where possible. This will allow those living aboard their boats to reach essential services if they need to.
• At the few locks where self-service is not possible, our local teams will put special temporary operating arrangements in place to allow boats to return to their home moorings.
• We will lift time restrictions on the short stay moorings we own or manage, to assist those who live aboard their boats so they can access essential services.
• We will do the very best we can to keep open the essential facilities we provide (e.g. water supply, sewage pump-out and chemical toilet disposal), for those who need them. However our staff will not be able to offer the sale of keys, cards or tokens. These essential services will not include the provision of shower and toilet facilities.
• We advise our customers to stay at home rather than self-isolating aboard, unless your boat is your primary residence. This is so you do not put yourself at increased risk or place additional burden upon our facilities.
• The river conditions on our waterways are starting to improve and in some places our Strong Stream Advice will be updated in the coming days. However, any travel on our waterways should still be minimised to the essential movement outlined above.
We will keep these restrictions under constant review in the light of the developing situation and advice from Government, but we expect them to be in place until at least 14 April 2020. It goes without saying that our priority is to keep our staff and customers safe, and we will be working to make sure that everybody can get back to enjoying everything our waterways have to offer as soon as it is possible.
You will appreciate our National Customer Contact Centre is very busy at this time, please help us by getting in touch only if it’s essential. If you do need to contact us, we encourage you to email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For the full Government guidance on coronavirus go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Thank you all for your co-operation during these very challenging times for everyone.

Best wishes
Alice Mayne
Deputy Director for Navigation and Commercial Development

Environment Agency

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org
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