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Islington town hall boss calls for traffic enforcement-style wardens along Regent’s Canal

08:00 23 May 2014

Archant

Calls to bring in parking enforcement style wardens along Regent’s Canal have been made in a bid to clamp-down on anti-social boat users who breach their licence and break the law.

A dispute erupted last year after canal-side residents in Angel claimed the huge increase in boat users led to excessive smoke and noise filtering into their homes and gardens.

Now, it has been reported that some boat users are staying well over the two weeks which their licences permit on the canal towpath near Caledonian Road bridge with residents complaining of similar problems.

Paul Convery, Islington Council’s community safety boss and ward councillor for Caledonian Road, said: “The root cause of all these problems is there are too many boats trying to moor and the Canal and Riverboat Trust, as the licencing body, needs to enforce the rules. Until that happens, nobody will pay much attention.”

He said there have also been complaints of rubbish being dumped on the towpaths creating a haven for vermin around people’s houses.

Cllr Convery said: “There is a small minority of people on boats who are clearly quite unpleasant and don’t give a damn and think they have a right to do what they like.

“We want to see some enforcement but the Trust is nervous about biting the hand that feeds it. It is already benefitting from an increase in licence fee payments so now they have to face the inevitable costs of enforcement.

“They should pay for a team of mooring wardens who can check licences and tell boat users to move on if they are in breach of their licence or issue fines and start proceedings for those that do not move.”

The council’s environmental health officers have already begun issuing boat users with warnings if they are found to be burning wood, which is illegal.

The Canal and Riverboat Trust said it has stepped up patrols and is considering introducing caretakers to remind boaters of the rules.

A London Assembly investigation last year concluded that extra moorings and facilities were needed on London’s waterways to reduce overcrowding and called on councils, boat users and canal-side communities to work together.

Cllr Martin Klute, who represents St Peter’s ward, said residents close to Danbury Bridge and City Road Basin have also reported anti-social behaviour and has appealed to the Trust to take action.

Sorwar Ahmed, boater liaison manager at the Canal and River Trust, said: “The vast majority of boaters are considerate of their neighbours, both land and boat-based, but of course a minority can spoil things for everybody.

“In Islington, we are working in partnership with the council to address residents’ concerns, while respecting the way of life of the boating community.

“As boats only stay in the area for a maximum of 14 days, it’s a message that needs to be continually reinforced, through education and peer pressure. It really is about mutual respect.”

The Friends of Regent’s Canal is holding a public meeting on May 28 at the London Canal Museum in King’s Cross to discuss the issue of air pollution.

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