Navigation – Future Plans.

Alongside routine maintenance and operations of our navigation, we all have a shared ambition to see improvements made to the fantastic Middle Level navigation. Achieving this will require a combination of:

  • Continued financial support from the Middle Level Commissioners
  • Prompt receipt of licence fee income
  • Collaboration with the Environment Agency, Cam Conservators and the Canal & River Trust
  • Partnership working, match funding and community inputs

Boater Facilities

We have made a commitment within the passing of the Middle Level Act (2018) to ring-fence 25% of licence income and invest this in provision of facilities for boaters on the link route to meet Inland Waterways Association standards.

The IWA’s minimum standards are:

Water points, rubbish disposal points including recycling points, portable chemical toilet disposal points and electricity (shore power mains connection charging sites) at every 5 hours of cruising across most of the inland waterways system, including between waterways managed by neighbouring navigation authorities.

For the Middle Level navigation, this effectively means facilities at Stanground Lock, in March, and at Salter’s Lode Lock. Once we have delivered against the commitment on the link route, then we can consider facilities and our mooring offer more generally across our whole navigation.

General principles for facilities:

  • We will generally only install, own and maintain facilities on land owned by MLC
  • We need to provide basic facilities well and be conscious of operational and maintenance costs of the facilities and any associated liabilities
  • Operational and maintenance costs will need to be billed to our navigation account
  • Once we have discharged our link route commitments and have considered other areas of MLC owned land, we will consider providing grants to others from boat licence income for new facilities depending upon the overall financial picture of our navigation service and our business plan once its developed

We are planning to deliver ‘Phase 1’ of facilities improvements, aiming for demonstrable progress within the 2024/25 licensing season. The intent is that Phase 1 will include water point installation at Stanground Lock, at our office/mooring (completed in March 2024) and Salter’s Lode Lock.

This is our aim, however delivery is dependent upon resources, other operational demands and is not straight-forward, in particular at Salters Lode, influenced by existing service locations and land ownership. Works as Stanground Lock are within wider plans we are aiming to progress under permitted development rights to also better enable relief locking, as well as boater facilities.


New and/or improved public moorings are not part of the commitment above. However, we have a small budget available for moorings on MLC land. Supported by boater feedback, we have earmarked this to turn Ramsey Forty Foot rural mooring into a permanent mooring however we may need partnership funding to make this happen.

This budget may also need to be reallocated if, for example, gate replacements need accelerating or we need to increase our licensing regulatory and enforcement activity.

Asset & channel improvements

Following the installation of new downstream gates at Marmont Priory Lock in 2023/24, we are using that experience to develop our capital programme for gate replacement across our suite of locks. These are costly investments so we therefore need to build and plan budgets accordingly, phasing delivery as an when budgets and resources allow.

What improvements would you like to see?

We welcome feedback and ideas from our licence holders and this helps the discussion and decisions of the Navigation Advisory Committee. Please contact us via

As we have now been licensing for a few years, we have an information base to better forecast future income.

Ideally the next step would be to develop a 5-year Business Plan for the Middle Level Navigation with user input and consultation. As a small organisation we have resource constraints that limit our ability to drive this forward and would welcome boating community support.