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Navigating and living on the waterways of Great Britain & Ireland and news of canal developments.
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TOPIC: Thames Navigation

Thames Navigation 03 Jul 2020 16:47 #117073

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Latest update from EA Thames

I pointed out that a link to the Teddington lock notice would have been helpful and asked why there is no mention of using volunteers (CRT volunteers are being fully employed with those over 70 allowed to turn up if they wish!)

Dear TNUF Member,

Please find below an update which we intend to issue to customers later today, confirming some of the levels of service we can currently provide.

We would welcome your feedback, and your support in disseminating the information to your contacts.

Kind regards,

Vicky

Vicky Sanders
Waterways Operations Manager, Thames

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


We will provide an efficient and high quality service and in doing this we want you to respect our staff - we won’t tolerate threatening, abusive or violent behaviour. Visit GOV.UK



Assisted passage



We now have measures in place which enable us to provide assisted passage at 31 of our locks along the non-tidal River Thames. These are: St Johns, Grafton, Radcot, Northmoor, Shifford, Pinkhill, Eynsham, Kings, Osney, Abingdon, Culham, Clifton, Days, Benson, Cleeve, Goring, Whitchurch, Caversham, Blakes, Sonning, Marsh, Hambleden, Marlow, Boveney, Romney, Old Windsor, Bell Weir, Penton Hook, Chertsey, Shepperton and Teddington.



We are working hard to increase the number of sites where we are able to provide assisted passage with adequate protection for anyone using, visiting or working at the site, from catching or spreading Coronavirus, in line with Government’s requirements.



This is not always straightforward for a variety of reasons. All our sites are different in terms of the relationship between working and public areas. Some, and the routes between them that our staff must take, are in very close proximity to each other, or run through each other. Providing appropriate measures, especially at sites which attract significant numbers of daily visitors – walkers, runners and cyclists as well as boaters of all types – and where legally protected public rights of way exist, is challenging. But we know how important assisted passage is in terms of your overall boating experience, and providing the best levels that we possibly can is a priority for us.



The physical measures you may have seen at our sites, such as fencing and signage, are an indicator of the effort involved, but just an indicator. Physical measures have to be backed up with appropriate systems and processes and we are making good progress. This includes, from 1 July until the end of September, a further 10 seasonal lock keepers in addition to the 3 already employed, to boost the number of staff available, and provide additional cover when our permanent staff are on a day off, on holiday, or unwell.



At sites where measures are in place to enable assisted passage, even with the recent additions to our lock keeper workforce, assisted passage may not always be available. Sometimes, due to colleagues being absent for the reasons given above, our lock staff will need to carry out duties at more than one site. They may also need to carry out other important tasks on site which may need to take priority over assisted passage – operating weirs to manage water levels for example, or dealing with an incident. Occasionally, given the sometimes limited opportunity for carrying out this work due to weather conditions or the flow of traffic through a lock, basic site maintenance such as cutting grass might need to take priority. We know that the presentation of our sites is as important to you as it is to us, and would ask you to respect our lock keeper’s decision if they sometimes focus on this work to get the job done during their normal working hours before the lock gets busy, or rain falls.



Please also be aware that some of our staff or their families are currently shielding. At these sites, and at others where it is simply not possible to put adequate protection measures in place, we may not be able to offer assisted passage. Even at those sites where we can, it may occasionally be necessary to stop doing so at short notice. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case – the sheer number of people on site, or damage to some of the protection measures, such as fencing, for example. We have already experienced this at some sites. If we need to withdraw assisted passage at any of our sites we will not do so lightly, but we will not hesitate to do so if we must. Protecting everyone at our sites from coronavirus is our priority.



Camping and lock and weir fishing

We are keen to re-open these facilities where we can, but we need to ensure we are able to put in place appropriate measures to minimise the risk of contracting Coronavirus for our customers, our staff and the general public. We also need to make sure we can adhere to government guidelines. Due to campsites and lock and weir fishing sites being in or near to our restricted operational areas, and the additional measures required to make the sites safe, we cannot offer these services for now.



We are committed to providing you with the best possible boating experience we can this summer, with the resources available to us, and in the extraordinary circumstances we all find ourselves in. We understand that the limitations on the levels of service we are able to provide may be a source of frustration, but please do be patient with, and respectful towards our lock staff who are doing their very best to provide the best service possible under extremely trying circumstances – as is everyone in our team.



We will be updating the information on GOV.UK to reflect the latest position.



Thank you.



River Thames Waterways Team

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Andy Soper
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Thames Navigation 27 Jun 2020 11:00 #116944

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For EA Thanes read EA Thames!

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Andy Soper
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Thames Navigation 27 Jun 2020 10:59 #116943

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Received from EA Thanes yesterday:

Dear TNUF Member

Please see attached the seventh important external communication for our boating customers, produced by Alice Mayne and our national navigation team which includes updates on overnight stays, safety on the water and boat registration. The guidance note will also be published on gov.uk at Coronavirus (Covid-19) update. Please share this information with your members.

We would also like to take this opportunity to update you about changes to the waterways management team.
As you know Barry (Russell) has been on Reservist duties since April in support of Covid 19 and John Dutson the acting Thames Waterways Manager. Barry has returned to the agency and with immediate effect will now be going on assignment until September into our national Restart team enabling us across the EA to deliver the Restart programme.
Following Barry’s assignment until September our Area Director Julia Simpson has put the following arrangements in place, taking effect from Monday 29 June.
Mark Hill will be the Thames Waterway Manager for the river as far as and including Hambleden and Maria Herlihy will be the Thames Waterway Manager downstream of Hambleden to Teddington.
John Dutson will resume his position as Waterways Operations Manager.
As you also know, we have started an incremental re-introduction of assisted passage at our locks, and I am pleased to attach the Harbour Master’s Notice we are issuing today which sets out the assisted passage available at Teddington Lock during July. At this site, as with all others, assisted passage will be very different to previous years. This is due to lock and weir keepers managing their site priorities with no volunteer cover and reduced staffing levels due to Coronavirus relating shielding or illness.
Where lock and weir keepers are on site and self-service signs are displayed, assisted passage will not be available due to conflicting priorities - water level management, maintenance, HSW tasks etc. The lock and weir keeper should not be challenged on their task priorities by customers. Please could we ask you remind your members and contacts to be considerate and respectful to our staff at all times – thank you.

Kind regards,
Cherie

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Andy Soper
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Thames Navigation 23 Jun 2020 19:48 #116889

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Hello EA Thames plans to provide lock-keepers to assist passage and manage some locks from tomorrow - 24/6.

see here : riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/

No - I don’t know the criteria for selection!

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

Thames Navigation 19 Jun 2020 19:11 #116786

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But not yet......

From EA today
We’re restarting assisted passage on #RiverThames as soon as we can, but some of our locks are extremely busy so assistance might not always be possible. Please bear with us as we continue to protect the safety of all waterway users. #StayAlert www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-environment-agency-update


Restrictions have been lifted on the #RiverThames, but we urge our #boating community and other river users to continue with the 2 metre social distancing rule #StayAlert : www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-environment-agency-update


#RiverThames #Boaters and other river users, please continue to #StayAlert and practice social distancing with people from outside your household or support bubble, keeping 2 metres apart whilst out and about around the river. #Staysafe:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-environment-agency-update
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Andy Soper
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You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

Thames Navigation 08 Jun 2020 12:42 #116500

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Hello William and Lucinda,

EA are re-introducing 'assisted passage' - which I prefer to call 'managed passage' for exactly the reasons you identify.

The delay is due to the need to agree a protocol with staff (and unions) and to provide temporary fencing to reduce staff risk of infection from passing members of the public. There is a huge amount of First Fence (aka Heras) being installed!

You should find lock-keepers on duty on the lock-side soon.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Tim Crew, William and Lucinda Voorhees

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

Thames Navigation 08 Jun 2020 11:03 #116493

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Given the emphasis on safety I’m not sure why EA are not having lock keepers return to providing assistance at locks. At the start of the season there are new boaters on the river who would benefit from the help and advice of EA staff at locks.

Yesterday we were entering a lock and a teenage girl in a kayak followed us in closely — being in a kayak at the stern of a barge that is reversing to stop is not a safe place to be. She promptly paddled up alongside us and took position on the starboard side of the wheelhouse while I was throwing the port side line. Again, not a safe action, and I gently told her the safe place to be was back from us in case the barge slewed over towards the other side of the lock. It turned out that she and her parents (in a canoe) were taking their first trip ever on the Thames.

From the EA page on gov.uk:
“ Our priority is health and safety of our customers and staff and because of the nature of the rivers and our structures this work is ongoing.”
and
“ We must still work under conditions of social distancing. This means we will not be able to provide some assisted passage at locks for the time being and some maintenance work may take longer to complete under the new Government safe working practices guidance.”

I’m not understanding why a lock keeper wouldn’t be able to provide assisted passage while social distancing. I think the EA is missing out on an opportunity to educate a new crop of boaters on safe practices, and no doubt everyone else needs to be that much more vigilant and helpful to fill this void.

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Thames Navigation Updates 06 Jun 2020 15:26 #116470

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From EA Thames

SERVICE UPDATE: Sunbury Lock back in service

The sunken barge that had been obstructing the navigation channel upstream of the lock and preventing use of the lock has now been removed.

There is a fault with the public power operating system which we will work to resolve as quickly as we can, but the lock is back in service albeit on hand wind operation only for the time being.

Please be mindful of the extra effort and time this takes.

Apologies for the inconvenience caused while we work to fix the fault.

Thank you,

RTWT

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

Thames Navigation Updates 04 Jun 2020 19:26 #116451

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Things are returning to normal!

Head in sand by EA regarding any refund of registration charges!

Today:
Dear TNUF Member



We have received numerous requests from yourselves and customers, to clarify our position on the following issues and ask that you kindly share this message with your members.



Overnighting

Staying on board overnight is still not allowed unless it is your primary residence. This is in line with Government guidance relating to relocating to second homes or caravans, and boats fall within this guidance. This will be reviewed as Government guidance changes.



Boat Registration refunds

We are not able to give refunds or a reduction in the boat registration charge as a result of recreational customers not being able to use their boats as normal during the coronavirus restrictions. This is because all boats on our waterways must be registered by law and the registration charge is due whether those boats are being used or not. This is consistent with our current refund policy which you can find here.



Although we understand how frustrating it is for many of our customers at this time, this income is vital for us to us to continue to manage and maintain our waterways, ensuring people and the environment are protected from harm. I’d like to reassure you that all our staff are continuing to work hard to manage the waterways and provide an appropriate level of service and maintenance.

Regards

Vicky

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

Thames Navigation Updates 04 Jun 2020 19:21 #116450

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EA today Thursday 4 June

SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Sonning reach - emergency river closure

Wokingham Borough Council are removing a dangerous tree from the riverbank upstream of Sonning Lock tomorrow, Friday 5 June.

This is preventative work to ensure the tree, which has a large split in its trunk, does not fall into the river.

To ensure the safety of river users, the river will be closed from Reading Blue Coat School to 300 metres upstream while work is carried out.

We have issued a Harbour Master's Notice which is currently being uploading to GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/g…/river-thames-restrictions-and-closures

We apologise for the inconvenience caused while this important safety work is being done.

Thank you,

RTWT

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Andy Soper
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0044 (0) 303 666 0636

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Thames Navigation Updates 04 Jun 2020 19:20 #116449

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EA today Thursday 4 June

SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Hurley Lock

Due to a hydraulics failure Hurley Lock is currently closed. We will have technicians on site as early as possible tomorrow to investigate and hopefully resolve the issue.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Thank you,

RTWT

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

Thames Navigation Updates 02 Jun 2020 09:44 #116353

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The van has now been removed from the river upstream of Folly Bridge.

Balliol.

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Thames Navigation Updates 31 May 2020 21:43 #116348

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SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Hurley Lock

Due to a hydraulics failure Hurley Lock is currently closed. We will have technicians on site as early as possible tomorrow to investigate and hopefully resolve the issue.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Thank you,

RTW

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

Thames Navigation Updates 31 May 2020 12:47 #116343

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Update from EA Thames below.

Please note that the convention is that urgent notices and changes are announced of the EA Facebook page first:
'Environment Agency River Thames Waterways Team'

followed by an update to the River Conditions Website:
riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/

SERVICE UPDATE: Issues affecting navigation, Sunday 31 May, 10.15am

We have updated our River Thames Conditions page with the latest information: riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/

The key changes are:

Technicians were on site at Abingdon Lock on Friday and Saturday but were unable to resolve the issue with the public power operating system. They now aim to complete the fix as soon as possible this week.

The fault with the public power operating system at Day's Lock has been resolved.

In addition, please remember that the river is currently closed between Bray lock and Monkey Island until 6am tomorrow, due to M4 Smart Motorway construction works. Our Harbour Master's Notice with more details is here: www.gov.uk/…/m4-smart-motorway-construction-river-c…

Thank you,

RTWT

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Andy Soper
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Thames Navigation Update Tuesday 26 Evening 30 May 2020 10:17 #116340

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SERVICE UPDATE: Issues affecting navigation, Friday 29 May, 9.30pm

We have updated our River Thames Conditions webpage with the latest information: riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/

Key changes are:

At present all locks remain self service; however, The River Thames Waterways Team and Thames Area Operations Management Team are working hard together to improve levels of service including providing assisted passage.

The contractors engaged by the van owner's insurers to remove the sunken van in the Iffley reach were unable to do so today as originally planned. Removal has been rescheduled for Monday 1 June.

Our Thames Area Operations Management Team arranged for a dive survey to be carried out of the sunken boat at Sunbury today, Friday 29 May. This confirmed that additional preparation is needed before the boat can be removed. This preparation will be carried out during week commencing 1 June. We will confirm the removal date on Wednesday 3 June.

The issues affecting operation of Osney and Bell Weir locks have been resolved, and both locks are once again in service on public power.

Thank you, and we hope you have a wonderful weekend on the river.

RTWT

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

Thames Navigation Update Tuesday 26 Evening 27 May 2020 14:48 #116266

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And today's update:
SERVICE UPDATE: Issues affecting navigation
Wednesday 27 May, 1.15pm

All known obstructions in the main navigation channel (the middle third of the river) have been marked. Please be aware:

When travelling upstream keep red obstruction marker buoys on your left, and green buoys on your right

When travelling downstream, keep red buoys on your right, and green buoys on your left

Single yellow marker buoys can be passed on either side.

In all cases, pass well clear of marker buoys, and take care.

You should also exercise caution in the margins of the river, and around bends, where river and weather conditions have resulted in tree debris collecting and some shallows forming.

Should you encounter new unmarked obstructions in the main navigation channel, please report this to us via our 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

All locks are currently self service.

Issues affecting navigation in specific reaches, and use of specific locks is set out below.

Where locks are on hand wind operation only, please consider the extra effort and time this takes, especially given the current hot weather, when planning your journey.

Osney Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team aim to have technicians on site to investigate and hopefully resolve the issue today.

Iffley reach (upstream of Iffley Lock)
A van has sunk mid-channel approximately 150 metres upstream of Folly Bridge. Navigation is possible by smaller vessels but should be carried out with extreme caution. We are working with the van owner’s insurers to arrange removal of the van. When we have a date for this we will let you know.

Abingdon Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team have had technicians on site, but were not able to resolve the fault. As soon as we have a revised date for dealing with this issue, we will let you know.

Marsh Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team have technicians on site today.

Temple Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team have technicians on site today.

In addition, a fallen tree is restricting the downstream lock cut which should therefore be navigated with great care. Our Area Operations Management Team are currently dealing with debris and vessels affecting the use of a number of weirs, and which needs to take priority. Once this work is completed they will then look to remove this tree at the earliest opportunity. As soon as we have a date for this, we will let you know.

Bell Weir Lock
See note below.

Sunbury Lock
Lock closed due to a sunken boat in the main channel above the upstream lock cut. No attempt should be made to navigate in this area. Our Area Operations Management Team have arranged for divers to carry out a survey on Friday 29 May, with the intention of removing the boat in week commencing 1 June .We will provide a further update on Friday.

Teddington Lock
See note below.

Passage through Bell Weir and Teddington locks is currently by prior arrangement only and availability is limited.
At Bell Weir Lock, this is due to debris jammed in one of the tail gates. Our Area Operations Management Team have arranged for divers and technicians to attend today, Wednesday 27 May, and tomorrow Thursday 29 May, to hopefully resolve the issue. Until it is, we are allowing limited use on lock keeper power to avoid damage to the gate which could take the lock out of operation completely.

Teddington Lock has no public power system.
If you need to use these locks please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 03708 506 506 during normal business hours from Monday to Friday.

Thank you,
River Thames Waterways Team

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Andy Soper
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Thames Navigation Update Tuesday 26 Evening 27 May 2020 13:18 #116265

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A reminder of the two closures of the river under the M4 bridge at Bray

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

Thames Navigation Update Tuesday 26 Evening 26 May 2020 21:31 #116251

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SERVICE UPDATE: Issues affecting navigation
Tuesday 26 May, 8.15pm

All known obstructions in the main navigation channel (the middle third of the river) have been marked.Please be aware:

When travelling upstream keep red obstruction marker buoys on your left, and green buoys on your right

When travelling downstream, keep red buoys on your right, and green buoys on your left

Single yellow marker buoys can be passed on either side.

In all cases, pass well clear of marker buoys, and take care.

You should also exercise caution in the margins of the river, and around bends, where river and weather conditions have resulted in tree debris collecting and some shallows forming.

Should you encounter new unmarked obstructions in the main navigation channel, please report this to us via our 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

All locks are currently self service.

Issues affecting navigation in specific reaches, and use of specific locks, are set out below.

Where locks are on hand wind operation only, please consider the extra effort and time this takes, especially given the current hot weather, when planning your journey.

Osney Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team were not able to resolve this issue today as originally planned, and now hope to deal with it tomorrow, Wednesday 27 May.

Iffley reach (upstream of Iffley Lock)
A van has sunk mid-channel approximately 150 metres upstream of Folly Bridge. Navigation is possible by smaller vessels but should be carried out with extreme caution. We are working with the van owner’s insurers to arrange removal of the van. When we have a date for this we will let you know.

Iffley Lock
The previously reported fault with the public power operating system has now been resolved today, as planned.

Abingdon Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team were not able to resolve this issue today as originally planned. As soon as we have a revised date for dealing with this issue, we will let you know.

Marsh Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team will have technicians on site to resolve the issue tomorrow, Wednesday 27 May.

Temple Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team aim to have technicians on site to resolve the issue tomorrow, Wednesday 27 May.

In addition, a fallen tree is restricting the downstream lock cut which should therefore be navigated with great care. Our Area Operations Management Team are currently dealing with debris and vessels affecting the use of a number of weirs, and which needs to take priority. Once this work is completed they will then look to remove this tree at the earliest opportunity. As soon as we have a date for this, we will let you know.

Bell Weir Lock
See note below.

Sunbury Lock
Lock closed due to a sunken boat in the main channel above the upstream lock cut. No attempt should be made to navigate in this area. Our Area Operations Management Team have arranged for divers to carry out a survey on Friday 29 May, with the intention of removing the boat in week commencing 1 June .We will provide a further update on Friday.

Teddington Lock
See note below.

Passage through Bell Weir and Teddington locks is currently by prior arrangement only and availability is limited.

At Bell Weir Lock, this is due to debris jammed in one of the tail gates. Our Area Operations Management Team have arranged for divers and technicians to attend tomorrow, Wednesday 27 May, and Thursday 29 May, to hopefully resolve the issue. Until it is, we are allowing limited use on lock keeper power to avoid damage to the gate which could take the lock out of operation completely.

Teddington Lock has no public power system.

If you need to use these locks please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 03708 506 506 during normal business hours from Monday to Friday.

Thank you,

River Thames Waterways Team

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

Thames Navigation 26 May 2020 17:31 #116245

well deserved Andy and Caroline, trust you enjoyed it....

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Thames Navigation 26 May 2020 17:01 #116244

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Today's update from EA Thames:

SERVICE UPDATE: Issues affecting navigation

Tuesday 26 May, 2.15pm

All known obstructions in the main navigation channel (the middle third of the river) have been marked.

Please be aware:

When travelling upstream keep red obstruction marker buoys on your left, and green buoys on your right

When travelling downstream, keep red buoys on your right, and green buoys on your left

Single yellow marker buoys can be passed on either side.

In all cases, pass well clear of marker buoys, and take care.
You should also exercise caution in the margins of the river, and around bends, where river and weather conditions have resulted in tree debris collecting and some shallows forming.

Should you encounter new unmarked obstructions in the main navigation channel, please report this to us via our 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

All locks are self service.

Issues affecting navigation in specific reaches, and use of specific locks is set out below:

Osney Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team aim to resolve this issue as soon as possible today.

Iffley reach (upstream of Iffley Lock)
A van has sunk mid-channel approximately 150 metres upstream of Folly Bridge. Navigation is possible by smaller vessels but should be carried out with extreme caution. We are working with the van owner’s insurers to arrange removal of the van. When we have a date for this we will let you know.

Iffley Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team aim to resolve this issue as soon as possible today.

Abingdon Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team aim to resolve this issue as soon as possible today.

Day's Lock
The previously reported fault with the public power operating system has now been resolved.

Mapledurham Lock
The previously reported issue of one of the tail gates stuck in the closed position has now been resolved and normal operation has resumed.

Marsh Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. Our Area Operations Management Team will have technicians on site to resolve the issue tomorrow, Wednesday 27 May.

Temple Lock
A fallen tree is restricting the downstream lock cut which should therefore be navigated with great care. Our Area Operations Management Team are currently dealing with debris and vessels affecting the use of a number of weirs, and which needs to take priority. Once this work is completed they will then look to remove this tree at the earliest opportunity. As soon as we have a date for this, we will let you know.

Old Windsor Lock
The previously-reported issue with the public power system has now been resolved

Bell Weir Lock
See note below.

Sunbury Lock
Lock closed due to a sunken boat in the main channel above the upstream lock cut. No attempt should be made to navigate in this area. Our Area Operations Management Team have arranged for divers to carry out a survey on Friday 29 May, with the intention of removing the boat in week commencing 1 June .We will provide a further update on Friday.

Teddington Lock
See note below.

Passage through Bell Weir and Teddington locks is currently by prior arrangement only and availability is limited.

At Bell Weir Lock, this is due to debris jammed in one of the tail gates. Our Area Operations Management Team have arranged for divers to attend tomorrow, Wednesday 27 May to hopefully resolve the issue. Until it is, we are allowing limited use on lock keeper power to avoid damage to the gate which could take the lock out of operation completely.

Teddington Lock has no public power system.

If you need to use these locks please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 03708 506 506 during normal business hours from Monday to Friday.

Thank you,

River Thames Waterways Team

(We enjoyed an afternoon out on our narrowboat - but stayed in the Cookham reach with a cream tea picnic below Marlow lock!)

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Thames Navigation 24 May 2020 21:23 #116198

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Harbourmaster notice removed - and presumably the tree!

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Thames Navigation 24 May 2020 19:17 #116196

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Just as we got going a tree gets blown down......

Boulters Lock
Sunday 24 May 2020 until further notice
Directions for navigation and general information:
 Boulters Lock closed to navigation, due to a large fallen tree in the head lock cut, completely blocking navigation. We are looking to remove the tree at the earliest opportunity with a team attending site today.
 We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience. We will continue to update with any developments
John Dutson
Harbour Master
24 May 2020

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Thames Navigation 23 May 2020 20:37 #116177

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19:35 (0 minutes ago)
to Spade, Chris, bcc: carolinesoper48

Latest Harbourmaster notice reads:

Saturday 23 May 2020 until further notice
In response to and in line with revised government coronavirus guidance, we have been working hard to ensure that the non-tidal River Thames can once more be used by all types of vessel.
We have now completed our surveys of every reach, marking all identified obstructions in the main navigation channel and can confirm that boating by all types of vessel can resume.
Please be aware:
 When travelling upstream keep red obstruction marker buoys on your left, and green buoys on your right
 When travelling downstream, keep red buoys on your right, and green buoys on your left
 Single yellow marker buoys can be passed on either side.
In all cases, pass well clear of marker buoys, and take care.
You should also exercise caution in the margins of the river, and around bends, where river and weather conditions have resulted in tree debris collecting and some shallows forming.
All locks are self-service until further notice, but public power functionality has been restored at all locks that have it installed (Godstow to Molesey except Blakes), apart from those where the system has faults. We are working to resolve these as quickly as we can. In the meantime, the locks are still in service on hand wind operation, but please consider the extra time and effort this takes when planning your journey.
These and other issues boaters need to be aware of (all of which we are working to resolve as soon as possible) are set out below.
Iffley reach (upstream of Iffley Lock)
A van has sunk mid-channel approximately 150 metres upstream of Folly Bridge. Navigation is possible by smaller vessels but should be carried out with extreme caution.
Mapledurham Lock
One of the tail gates is stuck in the closed position. The lock is in service on public power but can currently only be used by vessels less than 10’ wide. (Issue escalated and awaiting attendance by fitters.)
Marsh Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only (Issue escalated and awaiting attendance by fitters.)
Temple Lock
A fallen tree is restricting the downstream lock cut which should therefore be navigated with great care.
River Thames – lock and river restrictions
www.gov.uk/environment-agency
Old Windsor Lock
Public power system temporarily out of service – hand wind operation only. (Issue escalated and awaiting attendance by fitters.)
Bell Weir Lock
See note below
Sunbury Lock
Lock closed due to a sunken boat in the main channel above the upstream lock cut. No attempt should be made to navigate in this area. We are currently reviewing the safe removal of this boat and will update with a time frame on Tuesday 26 May.
Teddington Lock
See note below
Passage through Bell Weir and Teddington locks is currently by prior arrangement only and availability is limited.
At Bell Weir Lock, this is due to debris jammed in one of the tail gates. Until the issue is resolved, we are allowing limited use on lock keeper power to avoid damage to the gate which could take the lock out of operation completely.
Teddington Lock has no public power system. If you need to use these locks please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 03708 506 506 during normal business hours from Monday to Friday.
Thank you,
John Dutson
Acting Harbour Master
23 May 2020

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 21:05 #116150

The number of excuses are growing!!!
1. No repairs maintenance because of Coronavirus.
2. No repairs because have to surveyed first
3 Couldn’t complete the surveys because of lock failures
4 Still can’t complete the surveys because their launch had broken down.

Starting to sound like a script for Carry On EA

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 20:37 #116149

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And from the Navigation team at 1920

SERVICE UPDATE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts on navigation

Harbour Master's Notice, 22 May 2020 (2) until further notice.

This updated notice contains the latest information on our work to enable boating by all types of vessel to resume, and our plans to restore public power functionality at locks.

We had intended to complete surveys of all reaches today, but unfortunately mechanical issues with one of our launches and a shortage of available crew meant we were unable to do so. However, barring unforseen circumstances, we will be back out tomorrow to finish the job.

Three locks have developed faults with their public power operating systems since they were re-activated: Mapledurham, Marsh and Old Windsor. The locks can still be used, but on hand wind operation only. Please consider the extra time and effort this will involve if you intend to transit the locks.

We have reported this to our Area Operations Management team, and their technicians will be onsite to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Thank you.

River Thames Waterways Team

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Andy Soper
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Coookham
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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 20:22 #116148

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And from the Navigation team at 1920

SERVICE UPDATE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts on navigation

Harbour Master's Notice, 22 May 2020 (2) until further notice.

This updated notice contains the latest information on our work to enable boating by all types of vessel to resume, and our plans to restore public power functionality at locks.

We had intended to complete surveys of all reaches today, but unfortunately mechanical issues with one of our launches and a shortage of available crew meant we were unable to do so. However, barring unforseen circumstances, we will be back out tomorrow to finish the job.

Three locks have developed faults with their public power operating systems since they were re-activated: Mapledurham, Marsh and Old Windsor. The locks can still be used, but on hand wind operation only. Please consider the extra time and effort this will involve if you intend to transit the locks.

We have reported this to our Area Operations Management team, and their technicians will be onsite to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Thank you.

River Thames Waterways Team

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Andy Soper
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Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 20:07 #116147

I also take exception to this part of the statement “we are carrying out surveys of each individual reach, to replace hazard marker buoys which were dragged out of position by the winter’s flood flows, and to install marker buoys where we find new hazards in the main navigation channel.”. Why install new marker buoys when new hazards are found in the main channel? EA need to resolve the problem and not just hopefully cover their backside by marking it!!!
I do feel for you Andy dealing that shower!!

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 19:47 #116146

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Oh dear - back to normal - didn't manage to cover all reaches. See attachment

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 19:25 #116145

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And from the EA river conditions website:

The river 150 metres upstream of Folly Bridge between Iffley and Osney locks has a van in the main channel, this is marked with marker buoys. Any navigation in this area should be carried out with extreme care.

riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 19:13 #116144

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Hello Dave,

Something to take up with Penton Hook management who will have greater clout!

Didn't stop the Princess 33 getting out to run aground on the Sunbury wreck!

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 19:11 #116143

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Hello Balliol,
Yes the ban on overnight stay is a central government edict only allowing you to go out from your primary residence and return each day ( unless you are Boris Johnson!) . It is not in the gift of navigation authorities to vary this.

The van is not fully obstructing the navigation - see Oxford Mail pictures
www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/18392163.oxford-hero-rescued-man-sinking-van-river-thames/
and there is a public right of navigation..........but I will ensure that I flag up recovery of the van - which may be delayed as I think the owner was not insured.

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 17:48 #116142

Andy
Thanks for to update. Unfortunately based on EAs track record there can be some time between surveying and undertaking remedial work. Currently the reach up from the Thames to Penton Hook is silted to such a state that the starboard navigation buoys are now high and dry making the channel narrow and the turn, going downstream, nigh on impossible for larger barges. The combination of the enlarged shoal and the weir stream hitting the portside will make the turn to port very, very difficult.

Cant see them doing much about it for months!!

Regards
Dave

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 17:39 #116140

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Thanks.

As a point of order only Andy and noting the Broads situation, do we presume it remains the case that overnight stays on board are still
not permitted anywhere as yet, as still applies for second homes etc. (unless of course your boat is your principal residence)?

Andy, could you let me know when you hear that Folly is clear please. Have to get a sunken boat recovered from Culham up to Eynsham.

Best wishes,

Balliol.

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Thames Navigation 22 May 2020 14:36 #116133

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Good News - all reaches should be surveyed by the end of today with all forms of boating allowed. All locks should be on public power by close of play today.

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Thames Navigation 20 May 2020 22:10 #116110

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I would have hoped for a faster survey regime - but -

'We will also reinstate the public power facility at locks, as each reach
survey is completed.'

Hurrah!

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Thames Navigation 20 May 2020 21:55 #116109

Dave Peck wrote:
I have passed your enquiry onto the team best able to respond .


I think that is their euphamism for their rubbish bin

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Thames Navigation 20 May 2020 11:46 #116100

Based upon the EA response below I’m not sure if they even read email content before sending an acknowledgement.

Dear Mr Peck,

Thank you for your email of 19th May to our Chief Executive Sir James Bevan concerning navigation on the Thames whilst corona virus is prevalent.

I have passed your enquiry onto the team best able to respond and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Thames Navigatio 19 May 2020 21:25 #116088

Nicely put Dave....they are yet another government disgrace.

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Thames Navigatio 19 May 2020 21:12 #116087

Please see attached email sent to Sir James Bevan, CEO Environment Agency, Maybe the EA notices have highlighted their achilles heel as they ignore the issues and chase for money. Maybe if all boat owners insisted upon compensation or withheld the licence payments then the EA management would show more interest!!

Dear Sir
As the senior manager of the Environment Agency I’m sure that you can advise me of what compensation is available to licence payers due to the navigation being blocked at key locks. Coronavirus has been an issue but cannot be the excuse for the EA sinking a vessel in Sunbury lock and the failing to do anything about it for months!! Yours is an organisation where workers do not have an issue in social distancing whilst working and suspect that no maintenance has been done on the waterways to save the EA money rather than any other reason. I will have payed you over £1000 in licence fees (6 months) before I can get out on the river but can’t go far due to blockages. As I understand it the right of public navigation on the Thames is enshrined in statute and you are therefore failing in your legal obligation. I consider that the EA have not maintained the waterway in a condition warranting the boat licence. Therefore I am seeking redress for your failings in the way of compensation for the cost of my licence.
Regards
David Peck
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Thames Navigation 18 May 2020 19:22 #116056

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Sent to EA management today

To: "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>, Julia Simpson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Cc: "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>, TNUF <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Dear Alice and Julia,

Further to our earlier email we now write with our thoughts regarding how best to commence lifting restrictions to recreational powered craft boating on the Thames.

1. The majority of powered craft cruise between Teddington and Oxford with many tending to remain downstream of Abingdon. Only smaller craft and narrow boats are able to use the river above Oxford and it should be noted that locks above Oxford are beam locks with no powered operation.

2. With well over 100 miles of navigable river we believe it is important not to delay freedom of navigation across the whole waterway because of local issues affecting particular locks or reaches. In normal cruising times river users are well used to local obstructions, lock failures etc.

3. Concerns re possible movement of shoals during the winter flooding and buoys being out of position should, likewise, not prevent resumption of navigation. In fact, it is often reports from boaters that help to identify such issues. Harbour Master's Notices and recommendations to proceed with care and exercise prudent navigation should satisfy your duty of care needs.

4. We are aware of a number of specific issues which currently prevent passage :

Sunbury - sunken vessel in upper lock cut
Marsh - Tree completely blocking access above lock
Temple - tree restricting lower lock approach
Abingdon and Sandford - damage to lock gates/mechanisms
Folly Bridge - vehicle in river
Bell Weir, Cookham and Hambledon - local lock issues.

We suggest that these issues should be managed by exception as expeditiously as possible, rather than being an impediment to lifting restrictions elsewhere.
In isolation, none of these issues are any different to passage interuptions during a normal boating season.

Recommendations

1. Given that the Agency recognises the need to provide greater freedom of navigation, we suggest that a first step should be the restoration of public power enabling easier self service operation of locks by boaters without lock staff needing to engage with them. We recognise there is a need for clear guidance regarding hygiene issues (gloves ? Wiping control surfaces etc?) but would hope this can be quickly formulated - it may even be possible for you to appropriate similar guidance notes being formulated by other navigation authorities.

2. An early notice to river users of precise plans and timescale. This should include specific information with expected timescales for dealing with the exceptional issues noted above.

3. We recognise, and totally endorse, the need for whatever action is taken to continue to be in accordance with government guidelines relating to the Covid 19 pandemic.

There continues to be considerable confusion and objection regarding the advice that people should not stay overnight on boats. Many owners live considerable distances from their moorings and are unable to make a return journey to useful purpose in a single day. Is it possible for this to be reviewed ?
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Thames Navigation 18 May 2020 15:36 #116050

Well spelt out by both Andy and Tony exposing the total inadequacies and obvious lack of care factor of the EA, let's hope they wake up and do their paid job - thank you on behalf of Thames users

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Thames Navigation 16 May 2020 19:25 #115993

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Thetext sent to Alice Mayne, Deputy Director Navigation and Commercial EA

Dear Alice,

I, and my colleagues listed below, represent recreational powered craft users of the Thames waterway and we are all attending members of TNUF.

In your clarification message sent yesterday afternoon you requested our assistance with explaining the current situation to our members.

We would be pleased to be able to help in any way we can, but by far the most important issue on the Thames at this time is the apparent lack of any early planning or action to remove obstacles to re-opening the waterway. Most of the current obstructions and operational defects have been present for many weeks and really should/could have been dealt with by now, but we see no evidence at all of remedial activity. We are not aware of any significant secondment of personnel to more pressing duties that would have weakened staff availability.

The situation is not helped by our inability to communicate and engage with waterways staff by email, telephone or other means. Indeed, on many occasions, we have been positively discouraged from doing so.

Regrettably, we must recognise that the current level of frustration amongst river users is unlikely to be allayed by anything we ourselves may say unless we can demonstrate that urgent action is in hand to resolve these issues.

We will write to you further with specific recommendations on lifting boating restrictions and related issues.
In the meantime, can you assist us to develop a more cooperative attitude between waterways staff and river user representatives.

We really do wish to contribute in any way we can but we need to be welcomed and encouraged to participate. We need your help as much as you need ours.

I am happy to accept calls from you at any reasonable time if you care to discuss.

I look forward to an early response.

Thanks and regards,
Tony Riley - General Secretary TMBA - 07976 243823

On behalf of:
Chris Turner - Association of Thames Yacht Clubs
Mike Rodd - National Association of Boat Owners
Andy Soper - DBA The Barge Association
Rex Walden - Residential Boat Owners Association
Tony Riley - Thames Motor Boaters Association
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Thames Navigation 16 May 2020 19:17 #115992

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And a more personal approach to my MP:

Dear Mrs May,

I write as a constituent based on the banks of the River Thames. I am sure you are already well aware of the deep frustration felt by the vast majority of private motor boat owners (and the frustration of commercial boating operations who depend on the river for their livelihood must be even deeper!) over the EA (Navigation) team's interpretation of the Government's lockdown relaxation measures. In short for powered craft no change – movement is only allowed by residential craft needing services such as fuel or water. This is in stark contrast to nearly every other navigation authority including the neighbouring Canal and River Trust and Port of London Authority.

It is claimed that significant work is required to make the river safe to re-open – most of which is routine – fallen trees and minor lock defects – apart from the boat that the EA sank in the fairway at Sunbury while removing it from stranding on the weir.

This is in stark contrast to the Highways Authorities and Network Rail who have used the quiet period of the lockdown to ensure that improvements could be made with least disruption as emphasised by the Transport Minister in the daily briefing last night.

We cannot get those lost weeks back but the Environment Agency could assist a slow steady return to normality and allow motor boats to be used for leisure – initially between locks – but by restoring public power to locks allow boat owners to enjoy some slightly longer trips with the continuing caveat that overnight stays away from the home mooring are not allowed. This would be more in line with every other navigation authority.

There is an important point of law as the River Thames has the status of a ' public right of navigation' enshrined in statute and only removable by extraordinary circumstances which must be justifiable. Even in flood conditions the EA Red Boards are only advisory and their current suggestion that they need to sure that the river is safe to use is way outside their normal brief.

In conclusion by adopting the simple "at your own risk" policy which isalready in place on the River Thames, the EA (Navigation) Team could to simply switch public power back on at their operational locks (we don't need the lock keepers or the river patrol boats crews in attendance). River Thames motor boat owners would then begin to enjoy at least a little of what they have paid a great deal of money to take a relaxing spring evening cruise up and down the Thames whilst obeying all social distancing.

I do hope you can take this up with your colleague the Environment Secretary as EA, the only government navigation authority, is out of step with government policy and all other navigation authorities.

Best Wishes
Andy Soper
Cormorant
Spade Oak Reach
Cookham
Maidenhead SL6 9RQ

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Thames Navigation 16 May 2020 19:14 #115991

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For your information - pulling all the strings we can find to get EA to match CRT plans and allow use of the Thames

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