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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!) 30 Jul 2020 17:34 #117710

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EA Waterways (Thames, Medway and Anglian) (but Thames weighted!) 30 Jul 2020 17:31 #117709

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EA Update today. All EA waterways are fully open. Two Thames locks Boulters and Bray have no staff for assisted passage - but the buttons work on public power.

Most surprising statistic is the 11000 increase (27%) in British Canoeing members - not evident from chat with paddlers and SUP around here - although nationally BC have been having a big membership drive via clubs and retailers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Update for waterway users
July 2020: Guidance note 8

General update
First of all, we would like to thank you for your patience over the past few months as we have
responded to the Coronavirus pandemic. We have tried to keep you up to date with our
response to Government restrictions as the crisis has unfolded, including sending out updates
to you after every major announcement regarding our waterways. We understand that some of
these messages have been difficult and that it has been a challenging time for all of our
customers.
We continue to be delighted however to see so many people out enjoying our waterways. As
ever we ask all our waterways users to continue to follow Government guidance on social
distancing and to stay alert. The latest Government guidance can be found at
www.gov.uk/coronavirus .
Since our previous communication, there have been no new restrictions on our waterways and
we have worked hard to resume our operations as best as possible. We are now writing to
update you on the progress we have made in the last month and what this means for our
waterways going forward.
Safe operations
We are learning a lot about how we need to adapt our ways of working to keep our teams and
the public safe during the pandemic. This means that we have been able to implement the
required safety measures to allow assisted passage across all of our waterways and nearly all
of our lock sites.
Naturally, protecting our staff and the public remains our priority. Many sites have reopened,
although there are still a few sites or facilities, including our campsites, which are closed or
operating at a reduced capacity. Please do plan your journey before you set off and be aware
of the local situation.
To keep up to date with local information, see the following websites:
River Thames: www.gov.uk/guidance/river-thames-locks-and-facilities-for-boaters
Anglian Waterways: www.visitanglianwaterways.org/
River Medway: allingtonlock.co.uk/home.php
We are also reviewing how, and where, we may be able to resume our work with volunteers.
Volunteers play a really important role in supporting the waterways and we are currently
assessing if it is possible and safe to welcome them back to our sites in the near future.

customer service line 03708 506 506 floodline 03459 88 11 88
incident hotline 0800 80 70 60 Page 1 of 3

Financial transactions at our sites
We are now able to make financial transactions, including selling boat registrations, at many of
our key gateway sites. This includes Allington Lock on the River Medway, Hermitage Lock,
Denver Complex and Northampton Marina on the Anglian Waterways and Teddington Lock on
the River Thames. We aim to do the same at other sites as soon as is it is safe and practicable
to do so.
We ask those planning to visit the Thames to check which locks are able to sell registrations
before they travel on Gov.uk.
Please note that we are only able to accept card payments at the moment and we do ask that
customers wear a face mask. Other control measures are also in place and will be explained by
the staff and through signage on site. We ask all our customers to look for signage and adhere
to the guidance at sites to keep themselves and others safe.
Short period registrations can also be purchased in advance by calling our Boat Registration
team on 0330 159 1983 (Mon-Fri 8-5).
Complying with our requirements on the waterways
You may have noticed more of our staff out and about on the waterways recently, both on foot
and aboard our patrol launches. As more and more people are getting afloat after lockdown, we
are increasing our presence to make sure everybody understands the ‘rules of the river’ and
what they need to do to comply with them. This is especially important with many new
customers taking to the water for the first time in kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
Our staff are especially raising awareness about the need to ensure all boats kept or used on
the waterways have a current registration and how to obtain one. They are also stressing the
importance of sticking to the speed limits and not making a breaking wash that could cause
damage or endanger other users. Finally, our staff are working to ensure customers keep to the
waiting time limits at short-stay moorings, so space is available for those ‘passing through’ who
would like to stop for a short while or overnight. We know that all of these things are important
to you, they are to us too.
From 1 August we will be stepping up our approach to ensure that every boat on the water is
registered. Not registering a boat when required to by law is not only a criminal offence but it
also deprives our waterways of the income that is so crucial to manage and maintain them.
As you will know, we have not been able to print and post a large number of boat registration
plates due to the continuing restrictions on office access. We have taken the decision that we
will not issue registration plates for the remainder of this year, even if our offices are able to
open again. This means that a large number of boats may appear not to be registered, even
when they are. Please don’t be concerned about this, our officers are able to determine the
status of a boat’s registration very easily from our database, even when working from home or
aboard our patrol launches.
Boat registration update
Our Boat Registration team are still experiencing a high volume of emails and applications.
They are working really hard to respond as quickly as possible. Can I also remind you that we
do not recommend you send postal applications at the moment; as the team are working from
home, these are taking a lot longer to process.
We also remind you that the temporary extension to recently expired Boat Safety Scheme
(BSS) certification ends on 31 July so all boats that were covered by this waiver should have a
customer service line 03708 506 506 floodline 03459 88 11 88
incident hotline 0800 80 70 60 Page 2 of 3

new BSS certification by this date. If you are experiencing any difficulty, please let us know as
soon as possible.
We do again thank all of our customers for being patient at this time. If you need to contact the
team, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For any general boat registration
enquiries please call 03708 506506 (Mon-Fri 8-5).
Increase in use of our waterways
We have been really pleased to see an increase in the use of our waterways by unpowered
boats such as canoes and paddle boards. It is wonderful news that more people are
appreciating the great outdoors and getting out on the water to enjoy the natural environment.
We want to make sure these new users are aware of the need to register, so over the summer
we will be working to raise awareness of this requirement as well as sharing key safety
messages. Really positive news is that British Canoeing have seen a large increase in their
membership in recent weeks, with 11,000 new members. You can read more about this on their
website here.
So in summary, it is wonderful to see our customers, both commercial and private, new and
old, back out enjoying the rivers again. As there are no specific Government restrictions in
place on our waterways, this will be the last guidance note of this kind unless there are any
significant changes to how we need to operate. We will of course keep you informed of any
changes but for now thank you again for your patience and we hope you continue to stay safe
and enjoy your boating for the remainder of the year.

For the full Government guidance on coronavirus go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus .
Andy Wilkinson
National Navigation Manager

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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 Jun 2020 13:29 #116915

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EA Update 25 June
Basically confirms that overnight stays on any boat is allowed after 4 July.
Assisted passage is slowly and reluctantly being restored but unlike CRT volunteers are not being invited to return (CRT are even inviting oldies - over 70 to return if they wish!) Up to date list of Thames locks with assisted passage here - riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/
All other locks will be available to boaters and from Osney to Molesley on public power if not attended.
Teddington appeasrs to have fallen off the plot - email if you want to pass through - last update Mondays and Fridays only.........


Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Update for Waterway Users
June 2020: Guidance Note 7

General update
We continue to be delighted to see so many people out enjoying our waterways. As ever we
ask all our waterways users to continue to follow Government Guidance on social distancing
and to stay alert. The latest Government guidance can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus .
Following the Prime Minister's latest announcement on 23 June we are now writing to update
you on what this means for our waterways.
Overnight stays
We are pleased to let you know that overnight stays on boats will be allowed from 4 July 2020.
This includes private leisure boats as well as commercial hire boats and hotel boats. Individuals
and operators should follow Government guidance on social mixing outside of household
groups. This is not only great news for private boat owners but also for the hire boat and hotel
boat businesses who have not been able to operate so far during the lockdown. We very much
look forward to supporting these waterway businesses to restart and have already produced
some information, with support from British Marine, which businesses can use with their
customers. For other waterways businesses, Government is reviewing the Inland Waterways
and Coastal Boat Use Guidance (issued on 11 June) in light of the latest announcements by
the Prime Minister. In the meantime, some additional information to help businesses prepare is
available at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 .
Safety on the water
You may have seen that our teams have been out on the lock side preparing to restart assisted
passage at many of our locks. We are now able to offer assisted passage at many sites across
our waterways. We will continue to bring more sites online with assistance as soon as safe
working practices and the necessary mitigations are in place to protect both our customers and
staff from the risk of contracting Coronavirus. As every lock site across the waterways is
different, we have implemented site specific measures to manage the risks. At the majority of
sites we are still aiming to maintain 2m social distancing in order to reduce the need for either
customers or staff to take additional precautions, however we will provide local information as
required.
Our aim is to restart assisted passage at all but a few locks across the waterways by 1 July at
the latest. However there are a few sites on our waterways where staff or family members are
shielding or that are extremely busy with visitors and mitigation has not been possible.
Assisted passage at these sites may not restart for some time. There are also a handful of
sites where we are doing urgent works and therefore assisted passage will not restart until
those works are complete. We will be issuing local communications to share the latest
information about assisted passage at sites and any local disruption to the service.

customer service line 03708 506 506 floodline 03459 88 11 88
incident hotline 0800 80 70 60 Page 2 of 2
We also need to make you aware that this is a dynamic situation and we may have to stop
assisted passage at a site should it not be possible to maintain the safety of customers or staff.
We will continue to review our safe systems of work in line with Government guidance and
hope to keep any disruption of service to a minimum. Please be aware that working under the
current restrictions and without the support of our trusted volunteers means that maintenance
and service may take longer than usual, so please be patient with our teams as they go about
their work, respect social distancing and be mindful of others.
We have now started to reopen some of our facilities such as car parks, slipways and toilets.
Again, we will be able to restart provision at some sites sooner than others so please bear with
us. We will be communicating locally as facilities restart.
Boat registration
Finally, with such a high level of interest in water-sports and waterside activity, we are
reminding people that both powered and unpowered boats need to be registered if kept or used
on our waterways. You can find out how to register a new boat with us at
www.gov.uk/register-a-boat/who-to-contact . If you need to renew a registration, you can
call our dedicated Boat Registration team on 0330 159 1983 (Mon-Fri 8-5). For any general
boat registration enquiries please call 03708 506506 (Mon-Fri 8-5) or email
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Our Boat Registration team are dealing with a high volume of email enquiries and applications
at the moment. We do thank all of our customers for being patient as it may take longer than
normal for you to get a reply. Can I also remind you that we do not recommend that you send
postal applications at the moment. As the team are working from home, these are taking a lot
longer to process.
If you have any general enquiries not related to boat registration please call 03708 506506
(Mon-Fri 8-5) or email 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
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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!) 15 Jun 2020 10:35 #116640

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EA Update 5 June

Doesn't include much new information except that assisted passage on the Thames is delayed as despite all the locks now having enough Heras / First Fence fencing to rival Downing St EA and the unions are not convinced it is yet safe for lock-keepers to operate locks. E-mail pre-booking still needed at Teddington locks.

'General update
We are glad to see boaters getting back out and enjoying the waterways.

Thank you to all of our waterway users for their patience as we have worked to safely and swiftly prepare for access to the water again since the lifting of some government lockdown restrictions on water sports on 12 May. Environment Agency staff have been working hard to make the necessary preparations to get all water-based recreational activity going again.
We are delighted to announce that private leisure boating has resumed for day trips on all of our navigable waterways from 1 June as promised in previous guidance to you, our boating customers. Some were opened ahead of schedule, such as the River Medway and certain stretches of the Thames.
As ever, the health, safety and wellbeing of our waterway users and staff is our primary concern. To adhere to social distancing there are some changes to the way we typically provide services so do please read our further updates below. We also continue to ask everyone to follow government social distancing guidance, respect the needs and safety of our residential boating community by staying more than 2 metres away, and be extra alert and vigilant on and beside the water.

Safety on the water
We have now completed a thorough (reach-by-reach) inspection of river channels, marked hazards, checked the operational condition of our assets and issued safety advice to protect river users. Where we have identified hazards, we may have to continue to minimise movement on those reaches until we have completed any essential maintenance work.
Urgent maintenance work will continue throughout June and we hope to lift local restrictions wherever possible by 1 July. As ever we will let local users know about temporary restrictions and when they are lifted through local communications. While this work continues, we ask all waterway users to take extra care when navigating and to report any issues to their local waterways team. It is important that we all still maintain social distancing.
Some of our sites are extremely busy with pedestrians, cyclists and other towpath users. They have become honeypots for outdoor recreation and picnicking. Because of the nature of these sites it can be quite difficult for our lock staff to carry out their work without coming into contact with members of the public and maintain social distancing requirements. For this reason, assistance at locks may not be possible for the time being, as we continue to protect the safety of our staff and waterway users. Therefore please be patient, plan ahead and bear with us as we work to find suitable solutions. Pre-booking may be required at some locks and local updates will be provided as assisted passage resumes at each site.
Please also be aware that volunteering will be limited for the remainder of this season as many of our volunteers are shielding. Our lock keepers and other waterways staff continue to work hard to deliver the Navigation service; please support them to work safely by respecting social distancing requirements and exercise patience and caution.

Facilities
Essential facilities are still available including pump-out and water supply. Please be aware that cash payments are limited at sites due to safe working practice guidance; we therefore ask people to be prepared to make card payments wherever possible.

Visitor moorings and overnight stays
As before, leisure boaters can now visit their boats (subject to approval of your marina operator or boat club) and use for short day trips. However, unless your boat is your primary residence (you permanently live on it), overnight stays on your boat are not currently permitted. We will review this as government guidance changes.

Please note that from 1 June, normal time restrictions for our short stay moorings have been reinstated. This means that people currently moored on our short stay moorings will need to resume cruising or return to their permanent mooring. If you are experiencing difficulty moving on from one of our moorings because you are self-isolating, shielding or are a key worker, then please get in touch with your local waterways team. All applicable charges and conditions on our visitor moorings will therefore resume with immediate effect. We will try to ensure that there is sufficient visitor mooring capacity for leisure cruising over the coming weeks, but please be patient as cruising resumes.

Hire and trip boats
We are keen to welcome commercial hire boats back onto the waterways when it is permitted under government guidance. The re-opening of these businesses will be dependent upon the completion of a relevant risk assessment by each business operator to ensure safe operation. We are working closely with British Marine and other Navigation Authorities to advise businesses about returning safely to the water when restrictions are lifted, including producing leaflets and signage that businesses can use to inform customers on safe navigation. We have published an example flyer: Environment Agency waterways: Flyer to accompany coronavirus update 5 June 2020.

Quick reminder
You may also have received notification that the Boat Safety Scheme Examination suspension has now been lifted, with safe systems of work in place to prevent transmission of the virus by the use of social distancing between the boat owner and examiner. New guidance has now been prepared for boat owners to help them prepare for examinations. This can be found at www.boatsafetyscheme.org/COVID .

We would also like to remind you that all powered and non-powered boats, including canoes, paddleboards and row boats, must be registered for use on the waterways by law.

Please be aware that due to changing our ways of working to meet government guidance we are not able to process applications by post at the moment.

To renew your registration, please call 0330 159 1983 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm) 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 506 506.

Specific waterway information
River Wye
We ask those using unpowered boats on the River Wye to be aware of the different government restrictions that are in place in Wales and to adhere to specific country guidance.

River Stour
Some reaches of the River Stour pass through private land and involve portaging around structures over private property where vulnerable people are shielding. This means you may not be able to use boats on some parts of the river. We ask that you adhere to local signage and respect government guidance on social distancing at all times.

Lydney Harbour
Owners can now access their boats for maintenance purposes. Assisted passage will be in place once all health and safety checks have been completed. However, boaters are reminded to comply with Welsh legislation where necessary.

Rye Harbour
The harbour is operational for commercial shipping and leisure craft activity when tides permit and under government social distancing and safe working practice guidance.

These are unusual times for us all. Please support us whilst our staff adjust to new ways of working. I can assure you that we are all committed to navigating back to a new kind of normal as soon as it is safe to do so for our customers and staff. Most importantly, please respect government social distancing guidance and stay safe.

You will appreciate our National Customer Contact Centre is very busy at this time. Please help us by only getting in touch if it is essential. If you do need to contact us, please call 03708 506 506 or email 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 .

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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!) 05 Jun 2020 11:53 #116456

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EA national update today- short version - full version attached!

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Advice for boaters using our waterways from 1 June 2020
Plan your journey
We have put in place measures to protect you and our staff. This means you may have to allow extra time especially if you are passing through any locks.
Navigate carefully and avoid areas marked with buoys.
Pay attention to our signs, especially at our facilities and locks.
We are resuming our service of assisted lock operation where we are able to do so safely. However, you may still have to operate some locks yourself.
Please follow any instructions our staff may give you.
Some of our visitor moorings may be busier than usual. If there is no space at a mooring please be prepared to look for an alternative place to moor - waterway maps and online guides provide information on mooring places.
Not all of our facilities may be open - check with our local teams.
We are only taking payments by card – if you need to purchase anything from our staff please ensure you have a means of card payment with you.
We do not have information on whether local shops or attractions are open.
Maintain social distancing
Respect Government social distancing guidance - stay alert, stay safe.
This applies in and around locks, even when your boat is moving through a lock.
Ensure anyone with you also observes social distancing.
customer service line 03708 506 506 floodline 03459 88 11 88
incident hotline 0800 80 70 60 Page 2 of 2
Be kind
Social distancing means that it may take longer to pass through locks - please be patient with our staff and with other users.
Lots of people are coming to enjoy the waterways in many different ways.
Be patient at busy times and respect the need to share the waterways.
Wash your hands
Especially if you are handling any ropes, touching any gates or controls, using water points, sanitary facilities or electric points.

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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 15:39 #116084

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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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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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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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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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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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Andy Soper
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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
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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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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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