Councillor Martin Klute at City Road Basin in Angel
Boats boats moored along the towpath
Published: 11 January, 2013
by PETER GRUNER
A NEW towpath battle has erupted after residents in Angel declared they have “had enough” of acrid smoke from boat engines pouring into their canal-side homes and noisy generators disturbing the peace.
The residents in Noel Road – which was also home to late writers Joe Orton and Nina Bawden, who died last year – all have attractive south-facing gardens leading on to the Regent’s Canal.
Normally, six or seven narrow-boats are allowed temporary moorings opposite their properties, close to Danbury Bridge and City Road Basin, for up to 14 days.
But currently up to 20 boats – often double or even treble moored– are being tied up.
St Peter’s ward Labour councillor Martin Klute is appealing to the Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) to take action where canal by-laws are regularly being broken.
“This isn’t a case of snobby residents complaining about narrow boats,” he said. “The residents have always enjoyed the canal and welcomed the boats.
“But over the last two years there’s been a huge increase in vessels using the site.
“Not only are double or treble the number of boats tying up at the temporary moorings, which is against the canal by-laws, but many of these boat owners are running noisy generators which shake and rattle windows and disturb residents at all times of the day or night.
“Many residents who have lived here peacefully for years are so fed up with the noise that they are thinking of moving out.
“And it is not just noise. Many of the boat owners are using cheaper, dirty fuel – instead of the smokeless variety – which is against the council’s own anti-pollution by-laws. The black acrid smoke pervades gardens and homes. It’s very unpleasant.”
One possible solution to the problem has been a suggestion by the Canal Trust to make the moorings a private and residential boating enclave.
However, Ian Shacklock, chairman of the Friends of the Regent’s Canal, said: “Permanent moorings won’t solve the problem. It will probably mean rich people buying narrow-boats as second homes and hardly ever using them.”
Del Brenner, of the Regent’s Network Group, said the problem of anti-social behaviour could easily be solved by an officer from the Trust policing the area.
“Boat users need to be reminded what they can and can’t do,” he added. “If someone is pumping smoke through a chimney or blasting a generator at night then it needs to be stopped.
“What we don’t want to do is lose our precious visitor moorings. There are not enough of them in the capital as it is. It’s not just travellers who use temporary visitor moorings. Holidaymakers and visitors to the London canals use them.”
A spokesman for the Canal and River Trust said they had officials down at the site on most days and anyone overstaying their mooring permit would be fined £25 a day.
“We are a charity and, as such, we do not have infinite resources but we do urge boat users and residents to work together,” the spokesman added. “There are signs that forbid the use of smoky fuels and remind boat users not to run their engines between 8pm and 8am.
“We will keep an eye on the situation and take appropriate action if necessary.”