Information received from Hammersmith & Fulham Council:
Hammersmith Bridge is closed to pedestrians and cyclists as well as to river traffic as it is unsafe for people to be underneath it. On Thursday 13 August 2020, specialist engineers concluded that the fractures they had been continuously monitoring in critical parts of the 19th Century suspension bridge structure had become a serious threat to public safety. The fractures had significantly increased in size due to the recent heatwave despite the range of measures they had taken to halt that from happening.
The Council’s engineering consultants have highlighted any passage under or over the bridge is unsafe as the bridge is in a vulnerable condition for navigational channels as well as highway use.
The navigational channels on either side of the bridge could be closed for at least 6 weeks. We are making every effort to find a solution to stabilise the bridge as quickly as possible.
We are also in discussions with PLA and our consultants to establish if a one-off passage under the bridge is possible and if a safe passage can be accommodate PLA will be policing any such passage using the traffic control team. Currently we are in discussion with PLA and our consultants developing a procedure for controlled safe one off passage under the bridge. Please note in view of the condition of the bridge, the one-off passage can be aborted just before transition under the bridge takes place as we are relying on data from monitoring equipment and if the sensors are triggered on the day of passage the operation will be aborted.
You will be notified of any one-off controlled passage and in the meanwhile a log of stranded vehicles is being collected and I would appreciate of you could provide the following information held to inform PLA about your vessel to assess the manner of passage under the bridge in a safe way.
- Air Draft
- Contact details of the Master
- Where are they coming from and going to?
- How long it will take to reach Hammersmith Bridge
Highway Structure’s Manager
Transport and Highways
Hammersmith & Fulham Council
Tel. 020 87533303
The EA have issued a notice regarding revised lock service hours which apply for the rest of the 2020 boating season.
Full details HERE
HMRC is seeking information about the proposed changes to the rules surrounding the uses of red diesel.
At this year’s Spring Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak shared plans to review the current use of red diesel, and as such announced that he would be launching a consultation with red diesel users later in the year. During the Budget the Chancellor also shared plans for the intended removal of entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except for the agriculture sector (including forestry, horticulture and fish farming), railways, and where red diesel is used to power non-commercial heating systems, such as in homes, narrowboats and places of worship.
The anticipated red diesel consultation has now been launched by Government and seeks to gather evidence as to whether other sectors, including recreational boating, should be allowed to maintain use of the fuel beyond April 2022.
The RYA will be responding to this call for evidence and urges users of diesel propelled craft, particularly private pleasure craft, and those involved in the supply of fuel to UK craft to participate in the consultation.
To have your say on the future of red diesel please click here.
The consultation closes at 11.45pm on 1 October 2020.
According to the EA River Conditions web page some level of assisted passage may now be available at 31 of the 45 locks. The River Conditions Webpage is providing daily updates of lock service issues and other problems affecting navigation – see the blue panel down the RHS of the page. https://www.riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk
Where assisted passage is now available, the EA are endeavouring to meet the Customer Charter targets as per the published Lock Keeping Service Hours .
However, coronavirus issues (which affect lock staff just as much as anyone else) have inevitably compounded the problems which may result in Self Service, and, as there are currently no volunteers providing cover at mealtimes and weir duty absence etc. this is inevitable. Holidays, sickness and other requirements also complicate the problem and, although there are now 15 summer relief staff this is fewer than in previous years due to financial constraints.
A lot of effort has gone into providing safety arrangements at locks so that EA staff and boaters can safely use the facilities without risk from the general public who have been using the towpath and lock throughways in increasing numbers – most of the fencing appears to be intended to overcome this potential threat to safety.
The remaining 14 locks are expected to be providing assisted passage soon but all the hydraulic locks are now operating on public power when on Self Service. We have also been seeing a dramatic improvement in response time to sorting any lock failures that do arise. A hydraulic failure at Days lock earlier this week was repaired and the lock back in service within a few hours.
Worst case scenario is that boaters may find locks on Self Service even during published duty hours. Best case is that you will find increasing evidence of assisted passage as the new arrangements settle down.
Regrettably, there have been several instances of abusive behaviour towards lock staff – and sad to say that some of this has been by boaters. Lock staff have been instructed to walk away from any threatening situations and have due regard for their own safety, so such behaviour may well result in a manned lock becoming unmanned !
NOTE that Teddington is now open for passage between 0700 and 2100 daily.
Boating and Fishing activities on the non tidal River Thames require an Environment Agency Licence – watch our short video.