Environment Agency Southern

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AINA Representative: Mr Stuart Taylor - Head of Recreation and Navigation

Kent Area Office
Orchard House
Endeavour Park
London Road
West Mailing
Kent
ME19 5SH

Telephone: 01732 233213
Fax: 01732 875057

Email: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk
Website: www.environment-agency.gov.uk 

Constitutional status 

Non-Department government body.

Description of navigation

Mainly rural rivers, however Maidstone and Tonbridge are the main population centres at either end of the navigation.

A brief history of the navigation

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In 1740 an Act was passed to make the Medway navigable from Maidstone to Forest Row in Sussex. As a result the Medway Navigation Company was formed which was to last for 170 years. By 1744, fourteen locks had been constructed and the river was navigable for 40 ton barges, as far as Tonbridge. The Hampstead canal at Yalding also dates from this time.

The collapse of the East Farleigh lock in 1909 signalled the end of the Medway Navigation Company. The fear that there would be flooding resulted in the Kent County Council promoting the Upper Medway Navigation and Conservancy Board. In 1914 new weirs were constructed in order to reduce flooding. The locks were rebuilt and the Navigation reopened in 1915. In 1934 control was taken over by the River Medway Catchment Board with the Environment Agency being the present successor organisation.

Current situation and use

The Environment Agency aims to have the navigation open to the published standards from Easter to the end of September. Navigation outside this period is more likely to be restricted by flood flows and the development of shoals. Closures on the navigation are necessary for completion of winter works and essential maintenance. Details of these closures and any other restrictions to the navigation channel resulting will be subject to advance notice and will be publicised on our website.

Out of the ten locks the tidal lock is the only one permanently manned by Agency staff. For up to date information about the Medway including any Notice to Mariners in force, please visit the website – www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rivermedway

environmentagency-2.jpg The Agency has ongoing partnerships with the riverside district councils, the Medway River Users Association and the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership.

Plans for the future

The Medway Waterway Plan covers the period 2005-2010 and can be viewed on the above website.

How we consult with our users

We hold a formal consultation meeting in December with a cross section of navigation interests including representatives from the district and local councils and local members from the RYA and IWA. A member of our team attends the monthly meeting of the Medway River Users Association (MRUA).

How we are structured

A navigation team leader and ten staff carry out the operational work on the navigation. This includes lock keeping, enforcement, dredging, minor structural repairs and customer support. Marketing, promotion and business planning are undertaken by a small Waterways Strategy and Development team. Capital works are coordinated by the Regional Waterways Engineer and project managed by a specialist team. Financial, legal and estate matters are provided by the Regional Environment Agency team as required.

Navigation statistics

The Medway Navigation

Length of Towpaths

Public footpath following the navigable length of the Medway and extending to the Estuary

Length/area of Waterway

31km (19 miles)

Number of Locks (if any)

10

Dimensions for the Medway Navigation

Section

Length

Beam

Draught

Headroom

Allington Lock to East Farleigh Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

2.0m (6ft 6in)

2.55m (8ft 4in)

East Farleigh to Teston Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.7m (5ft 6in)

2.55m (8ft4in)

Teston Lock to Hampstead Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.7m (5ft 6in)

2.55m (8ft4in)

Hampstead Lock to Sluice Weir

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.2m (4ft)

2.55m (8ft4in)

Sluice Weir Lock to Oak Weir Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.2m (4ft)

2.55m (8ft4in)

Oak Weir Lock to East Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.2m (4ft)

2.55m (8ft4in)

East Lock to Porters Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.2m (4ft)

2.55m (8ft4in)

Porters Lock to Eldridges Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.2m (4ft)

N/A

Eldridges Lock to Town Lock

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.2m (4ft)

2.55m (8ft4in)

Town Lock to Leigh Flood Barrier

24.5m (80ft)

5.6m (18ft 5in)

1.2m (4ft)

1.5m (4ft 11in)

Boating statistics

12 month period – April 2007-March 2008 - Licences/Registrations

Boat Type

Long-Term

Short-Term

Powered

Unpowered

Powered

Unpowered

Privately owned

1305

549

-

-

Hire – day boats

-

7

-

-

Hire – overnight stay/timeshare

-

-

-

-

Hire – trip boat/ restaurant/passenger

2

-

-

-

Hire – hotel

-

-

-

-

Other business/charity boats

-

-

-

-

Requirements for boating

Boat Safety Scheme

No (being introduced through TWA Order)

Third Party Insurance

No (being introduced through TWA Order)