Monday, September 24, 2012

Meeting with the Cam Conservators

Tuesday 18th September 2012, 6-7.30pm
Meeting Room 3, St Andrew’s Hall, St Andrew’s Road, Cambridge CB4 1DH


Conservators: John Adams, Pip Noon
Camboaters: Amy T, James T, Xina M, Madeleine C, Ally C, Lee C, Julia

Welcome and apologies 

The City Council sent their apologies, saying that they needed more time to prepare answers and would attend the next meeting. AT to ask them to prepare written answers to questions


How do the Conservators plan to tackle the increasing problem of overstayers/illegal moorers on the visitor moorings and the Commons?
Daily checks are now carried out on the visitor moorings, and there is a seasonal river bailiff. Photos of overstayers are emailed to Pip. Conservators can only force boats to move if they are causing a navigational issue. It was pointed out that the boats illegally moored next to the Stourbridge waterpoint cause navigational problems as waiting boats have nowhere to moor and must hover in mid stream. Needs to be taken up with City Council.


What is the Conservators’ long term strategy for dredging?
There isn't one. This is also the strategy of the Environment Agency, who are now taking a hands off approach -  the rivers need to be allowed to take their natural shape, except in exceptional circumstances like the silting at Denver sluice. The Cam Conservators are taking a similar approach, and only carry out minor spot dredging eg below Jesus Lock and Baits Bite. The silt is not considered contaminated, but the cost of large scale dredging is prohibitive. The river is not becoming more silted up, but is at an equilibrium, bar the short term effects of floods. Silt can be shifted around on the bottom but not removed. there are no funds for maintaining a target depth for moorings, and it is the action of boats moving in and out which is best at maintaining depth.
Part M is to be dredged (just upstream of railway bridge on the Common side)to allow for additional residential mooring space.

What is the process by which problem areas for silting are monitored?
The river is surveyed every few years and the upcoming width monitoring survey will also look at the depth. Otherwise, they rely on people to let them know about problem areas. 

How are efforts to secure tree-cutting permission progressing?
Every tree needs a separate licence every time it is trimmed, because the trees are on Tree Preservation Orders or on private land. South Cambs DC, where most of the towpath trees are located, allow a block licence for tree trimming, but the City Council are more reticent - they are more concerned about loss of visual amenity, hence the need for such an admin-heavy, longwinded process every year. The Conservators are working to set up a block licence for the future for the Coumcil's trees at least, but it is proving difficult.

Licences/Finances    ]
When will the option to pay monthly be introduced?
This is to be decided at the January meeting, with discussion on Sept 27th.

Can you reassure us that the cost of doing so will not be passed on to licence holders?
The cost of setting it us has yet to be worked out, but is likely to be small and so would be trivial if spread over all registered boats. This is also for the Conservators to decide at the January meeting, with some discussion in the Sept 27th meeting .

Are there plans to increase revenue from the properties owned by the Conservators?
An independent property portfolio expert is going to produce a report suggesting what is best for all the properties.


Are there plans for improving communication with boaters? 
It was suggested that a newsletter including a diary of events would be produced by Camboaters and the Conservators would send it to all powered boats.
Also, a notice asking visitors to look over at the event calendar on the board and be aware of rowers will be placed in the lock control cabinet, so it can't be missed. Pip is also to meet with the hire boat companies to make sure that they are saying the right things.
A slow down for moored boats notice is also been proposed for Stourbridge

How regular should these meetings be?
Every 6 months.

Should the City Council’s officers be invited to each meeting as well or attend certain meetings for specific agenda items only?
They should attend every meeting, if possible

Any Other Business

Mention of the need for a meeting between river users. In Bedford, they have a River Users Forum with representative from all users getting together to discuss issues. Perhaps a similar format could work for the Cam 

Date of next meeting 

5th February 2013


  1. So by making the visiting licence more expensive for many now, surely this will reduce the number of boats moving the silt around?

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