Environment Agency fees: Is it time to rock the unlicensed boat?

I've mentioned before in this column that I have a certain amount of sympathy for the Environment Agency because, in this age of austerity and Government cutbacks, it has struggled to meet all its commitments to river users because of a lack of funds.

Tipping my hat to Boris

I have to confess that I'm not a big fan of politicians. Most of them seem to delight in avoiding answering straight questions and a significant number probably wouldn't know the truth if it hit them in the face.

Overstaying their welcome no more

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Huzzah! I’m delighted to learn that the Environment Agency has signed up with a company who, for a trial period, will help to enforce the mooring regulations on parts of the Thames including Walton and Weybridge.

Bridge tops out as boats pass under

Not missed: Boat skippers will be delighted to see the back of the old bridges whose supporting piers made navigating around the bend in the river a tricky business.

Today's the day for the final ‘topping out’ ceremony at the new Walton Bridge – and thanks to the organisational efforts of our local boat clubs, there will be a sail past to mark the event along with a number of other events.

A Big Society we can be proud of

Helping out as a volunteer at a lock during a busy time, like this Assocation of Dunkirk Little Ships outing at Molese Lock, can be a very satisfying experience.

Uncle Dave Cameron, our esteemed PM, has been talking about the ‘Big Society’ ever since he moved into the seat of power and about how we need to get together to help each other by volunteering in various capacities.

Steve keeps win for second year

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Let's face it – there are some people on the river who regard locks as an interruption to their day – an annoying waste of time when they could be charging along the river in their gin palaces, breaking the speed limit and causing a good deal of nuisance.

Locks: The key moment

I went along to the River Users’ Group Eight meeting on Tuesday at the Thames Motor Yacht Club in Molesey and was delighted to hear chairman Mike Shefras announce that after a lot of haggling with the Environment Agency the group had secured an undertaking that no more lock houses would be let for the next year.

Lock keeper cost cuts in the spotlight

Thames lock

I was rather encouraged to see that a London MP had put down an Early Day Motion to bring the vexed question of the future of resident lock keepers on the non-tidal Thames into the public spotlight.

Seeing red over safety

Environment Agency red board

I thought I’d take a look at the progress being made on the construction of the new river crossing at Walton on Sunday morning by going to the Surrey County Council webcam.

Please don’t leave us hung out to dry

Truss's Island

Flood diversion work is already under way but will sufficient funds be allocated for 20-year project?