Environment Agency Thames

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

Kings Meadow House
Kings Meadow Road
Reading
RG1 8DQ

Telephone: 08708 506506
Fax: 0118 957 4165

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

Constitutional status 

Non-Department government body.

Description of navigation

A river navigation within urban and rural landscapes.

A brief history of the navigation

The Non tidal River Thames is an historic Statutory Public Right of Navigation from Town Bridge, Cricklade to the boundary obelisk just downstream of Teddington Lock. Its statutory framework is provided by the various Thames Conservancy Act.

Current situation and use

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Navigation fully open with locks manned by lock keepers throughout the year.

www.visitthames.co.uk has been a particular success, encouraging visitors to the river for walking, fishing, boating and sightseeing. The number of people using the site has increased considerably.

The number of boats using the Thames had been in decline from the late 80s with a 30% fall in boat registration from 1990-2000. In 2001 the Environment Agency started the ‘Thames Ahead’ initiative to rejuvenate the river. Working with the marine trade and interested local authorities the marketing work by Thames Ahead had an impact with registrations beginning to go upwards and businesses investing.

Plans for the future

In January 2006 the Environment Agency, on behalf of the RYA, launched the first ever Thames Waterway Plan, as a framework for long-term development along the river. The Environment Agency’s contribution to the TWP is its investment in maintaining the river’s infrastructure and improving facilities and services where possible as part of the work. Increased government funding over the next 3 years means more of this work can be carried out.

A 5-year rolling capital programme is available on request.

How we consult with our users

As well as consulting through our formal consultations, i.e. the regional Fisheries Ecology & Recreation Advisory Committee (RFERAC) a Thames Waterway Working Group has also been established which draws its membership from both trade and recreational users of the river. A network of River User Groups also provides a localised communications system for local management.

How we are structured

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Navigation statistics

The River Thames

Length of Towpaths

200.85km (124.8 miles)

Length/area of Waterway

217.55km (135.18miles)

Number of Locks (if any)

44 - see below

Locks

Section

Length

Width

Lechlade to Oxford

33.52m (110ft )

4.47m (14ft 8ins )

Oxford to Reading

36.57m (120 ft)

5.33m (17ft 6ins )

Reading to Windsor

39.82m (130ft 8ins)

5.43m (17ft 10ins)

Windsor to Staines

54.55m (179ft)

7.36m (24ft 2ins )

Staines to Teddington

53.16m (174ft 5ins)

6.04m (19ft 10ins )

Waterway

Section

Length

Min. Headroom (lowest bridge in section)

Lechlade to Oxford

1m (3ft 3ins)

2.28m (7ft 6ins)

Oxford to Reading

1.2m (4ft)

3.78m (12ft 5ins)

Reading to Windsor

1.3m (4ft 6ins)

3.81m (12ft 6ins)

Windsor to Staines

1.7m (5ft 6ins)

4.34m (14ft 3ins)

Staines to Teddington

2m (6ft 6ins)

5.18m (17ft )

River Kennet

(from its junction with the Thames for 0.932 miles (1.49km) into Reading. This is legally part of the Thames Navigation).

Length of Towpaths

1.49km (0.93 miles)

Length/area of Waterway

1.49km (0.93 miles)

Number of Locks (if any)

1 - see below

Locks

Section

Length

Width

Blakes Lock

37.39m (122ft 8ins)

5.75m (18ft 11ins)

Waterway

Section

Length

Min. Headroom (lowest bridge in section)

River Kennet

1m (3ft 3ins)

2.9m (9ft 2ins)

Boating statistics

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

Boat Type

Long-Term

Short-Term

Powered

Unpowered

Powered

Unpowered

Privately owned

9520

6516

-

-

Hire – day boats

354

170

-

-

Hire – overnight stay/timeshare

77

-

-

-

Hire – trip boat/ restaurant/passenger

55

-

-

-

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)