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    13 June 2017
    New three-mile route set to open in July
    The Canal & River Trust and London Legacy Development Corporation are welcoming boaters back to the Bow Back Rivers that run through East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, after a 10-year transformation project that has turned the derelict, virtually unnavigable waterways into a major new route for the capital.

    It follows investment of over £60 million as part of the wider regeneration of the area in the lead up to and following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Jon Guest, Canal & River Trust London waterway manager, said: “The transformation of the area has been incredible. Those with long memories will remember that the rivers in this part of the east end were all but unnavigable, subject to the tides and full of fly-tipped fridges, cars and tyres. I’m over the moon to see the changes and I’m excited for everyone who will get to explore them, at a time when the capital’s canals and rivers are arguably more popular than any time in history.”

    The three and a bit miles of rivers in the Park were once used by local industries but the drop in canal freight after the Second World War, together with a build-up of silt, saw them decline until they were largely closed in the 1960s. The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games offered the opportunity to unlock the true commercial and leisure potential of the Bow Back Rivers. Now the waterways will be once again open to boaters and other people who want to get on the water and enjoy the Capital’s newest cruising route.

    Paul Brickell, London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “The waterways of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park have a fantastic industrial heritage. We have worked hard for many years to open up the waterways so more people can use them, and are proud to welcome leisure boats into the Park to complement the commercial activity we have already introduced.
    “We’ve got lots coming up this summer, as we celebrate the restoration of Carpenters Road Lock and look forward to hosting our first East London Waterways Festival at the end of the August. See you there!”

    This summer the Loop of waterways around the London Stadium, which includes the Old River Lea, City Mill River and St Thomas Creek, will open to public navigation for cruising without the need for prior booking.

    Closures will occur from time to time as part of the security requirements for high profile events in the Park. Boaters will be notified in advance of any closures via the Trust’s stoppage notifications and notices on site.

    The Trust is also planning to create a 100-metre stretch of short stay visitor moorings on a currently unmoorable length of towpath on the Lee Navigation near the Hertford Union Canal. As boaters may be journeying from far afield to visit the Park some of the new moorings will be pre-bookable to guarantee travellers a place to pull up. Boaters will be able to reserve a spot at the pre-bookable moorings for up to seven days at a cost of £10 per night with the other spots free for up to two days stay. These moorings will be available by the end of the year. There will be no mooring within the Park itself.

    Jon Guest adds: “Boaters from across the country have been looking forward to cruising these rejuvenated waterways and we want to make the experience as smooth and pleasant for them as possible. The new visitor moorings will be a valuable addition to a busy area and will ensure boaters have somewhere to end, and start, their journeys.”

    From autumn Waterworks River and Three Mills Wall River, which runs adjacent to the loop, will be opened to navigation via the soon to be completed Carpenters Road Lock. The Lock is being restored as part of a £1.8million project, part funded by the Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and London Legacy Development Corporation. A booking system will be trialled over the summer with full launch after the East London Waterways Festival on Monday 28 August.

    For more information about the waterways in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including a video of Jon Guest, London waterway manager at Canal & River Trust, explaining the restoration, visit

    Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park tyres 2006

    Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Waterways Cruise (002)

    The Canal & River Trust is introducing a new letting licence to ensure the safety of the increasing number of people living on rented boats.

    The charity is responding to the numbers of boats for rent in London and further afield as people try to find alternatives to rising housing costs. A second market has sprung up with the advent of website letting sites which regularly feature listings of boats for rent, while anecdotal evidence from boaters shows that it’s becoming more common.

    Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at Canal & River Trust, explains: “Living afloat can be a great lifestyle choice but too often there are frightening accidents, from carbon monoxide poisoning to fires and boats sinking. Boat owners may not be aware that they have greater responsibilities to tenants than they would if they were using the boat themselves, and it’s vital that those renting boats are protected by more rigorous standards to ensure they are safe.”

    From 12 June 2017 boat owners will be able to apply for a Static Letting Licence for static boats which will cover all types of boat rental, including long-term renting, Airbnb-style short breaks, and overnight stays. The boat owner will need to have a permanent mooring and should talk to their local planning authority to see if planning permission is needed. The price will be the same as for the current Self-Drive Holiday Hire licence.

    The Static Letting Licence has more rigorous requirements to make sure that both the boat is safe and that potential renters are fully briefed before spending a night on board. Boat owners will be required to have: proof of adequate insurance; a Non-Private Boat Safety Scheme Certificate; a detailed handover document including emergency procedures and contact numbers; a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate; and written permission from their mooring provider.

    Alongside this the charity will be introducing a new process for dealing with boat owners who may be breaching the terms of their licence by renting out their boat. If a boat is suspected of being rented out illicitly the Trust will contact the registered licence holder, as well as hand posting letters onto the boat itself to alert tenants. The licence holder will be given 28 days to clarify the situation, cease trading if appropriate, or apply for a Static Letting Licence. After this period their licence will be revoked if they continue to rent out their boat.

    Matthew continues: “Sadly we’ve heard reports of people running into trouble and this needs to stop. Any boat being rented out needs a Letting Licence that ensures that all the proper requirements have been met and the tenants will be kept safe. We want to spread the word amongst existing and potential landlords and will be getting in touch with those who we think are renting their boat unofficially, asking them to work with us to do it above board.”

    Sarah Dhanda, Chief Officer of Membership & Services at British Marine, commented: “We support the Canal & River Trust’s decision to introduce this new Licence. This new approach provides reassurance for all customers, by raising safety standards in line with those that our members already abide by.”