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So unfair to Regent’s Canal’s lovely, solar-powered book barge

24 February, 2017

• I WAS so sad to read what was said about our lovely boat (Canalside walk ruined by choking fumes from boats, February 17).

We are so passionate about wordonthewater, our book barge based on the canal by King’s Cross. We don’t use “diesel or coal that produces smoke”. We pay extra to buy smokeless coal.

We as a family are passionate about the environment and all power on the boat comes from our solar panels.

and our 14-year-old daughter MEGAN


• I’D like to correct any misunderstanding that might have arisen from last week’s letter (Canalside walk ruined by choking fumes from boats, February 17). It was never my intention to blame Word on the Water (WoW) alone for the pollution along the Granary Square-Angel tunnel stretch of towpath on February 11, a London-wide high-air-pollution day.

WoW is at the foot of the step-free access to the canal from the square, where the first emissions hit, and is the reason the boat was named. One of the boat’s owners, with whom I met last week, confirms that when adjacent boats are running their diesel engines, it’s impossible to distinguish the source of the pollution at this point.

I’m pleased that WoW has accepted my apology for the confusion. I’ve been walking this route for years, so was delighted to learn that WoW ditched diesel last April and converted to smokeless fuel from a wood-burning stove in the autumn – despite what its Twitter bio says.

The books were getting covered in soot. While not entirely emissions-free, smokeless fuel is much less damaging to health than wood and diesel. Clean books, cleaner air, better health. Winners all round.

Ellington Street, N7


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