A River User Group celebrated its 100th meeting over 33 years when 30 delegates with varying interests on the Thames gathered at the Leander Club at Henley.

River User Group 6 (RUG6) covers the Thames from Henley to Maidenhead. Like other similar groups its members include boat clubs, commercial operators, marina representatives and  individuals concerned with the river.

Among the topics discussed at the centenary meeting was the number of outboard motors being stolen along the non-tidal river. See our lead story in this edition

The meeting heard from the Environment Agency that 100 of last year’s volunteers who helped staff locks and carry out other duties are set to return this summer. The agency is now looking to recruit an additional 100.

Concern was expressed at some of the rising costs of facilities along the river and the lack of toilets for ramblers while notice was given of a major renovation of a railway bridge over the river at Bourne End (full details in a later edition of RTN).

Chair Bob King explains the role of the RUGs:

“Eight River User Groups cover the navigational waters of the non tidal Thames from Lechlade all the way down river to Teddington.

"They were set up by the Thames Conservancy some 33 years ago and are now sponsored by the Environment Agency to provide a forum to discuss and resolve issues affecting river activities. 

"Each RUG Chair sits on the Thames Navigation User Forum used to gain customer feedback on EA projects and future plans and to receive advice and guidance on topics such as boat registration charges and the customer charter.

"Their main purpose is to act as a conduit for information on the operational management of the Thames Navigation by the EA, to maintain a calendar of events to assist event organisers to de-conflict events which otherwise might clash and to resolve any conflicts misunderstandings or difficulties experienced by the many clubs and organisations which use the river.

Busy river

"In recent years RUG 6 has been instrumental in making sure the very busy sailing and rowing activities in the Marlow to Cookham Reach do not conflict.

"It has has worked with the county council’s Pathways Departments to improve the condition of various footpaths, including the upkeep of the Thames Path and access for the disabled; It has provided guidance to the growing number of Open Water Swimming Clubs and organisations using the river and has advised the EA on restrictions such as fallen trees etc 

"The RUGs’ latest project is to develop and publish  a Code of Conduct for boaters from all the different boating disciplines so that each will be aware of the others problems and likely actions.

More information on the River Users Groups

Story dated February 11th 2013

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