A SECOND canal boater moored on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Bradford on Avon is facing eviction from the Canal & River Trust.

The body that manages 2,000 miles of Britain’s canals and inland waterways has obtained a court order against Ras Rainbow Selassie and his wife Yahyah Selassie.

The pair live on their 70-ft workboat, the Aster, by Smelly Bridge in Bradford-on-Avon.

The trust issued an eviction notice after a Bristol County Court hearing on July 12.

Wiltshire Times: Ras Rainbow Selassie with one of the Bristol County Court orders obtained by the Canal & River

The notice orders Mr Selassie to remove the 91-year-old boat by July 26 and to pay £1,507 in legal costs in full within 14 days of the date of court order, which is dated July 12 2023.


The trust insists the eviction has only been taken after 'significant non-compliance' by the boaters with the licensing of the boat.

But Mr Selassie claims the trust has refused to licence the Aster despite several applications.

“The Trust is conducting a campaign against us that is personal and vindictive. My wife gets upset a lot about the situation," he said.

"I have offered to pay for a licence for this boat more than once."

Wiltshire Times: The Aster was built in 1932 to carry coal on the canal network.The Aster was built in 1932 to carry coal on the canal network. (Image: John Baker)

Mr Selassie adds he is unable to move the boat because it no longer has an engine.

The court order applies to both Mr and Mrs Selassie and the Aster’s owner, Peter Curling.

Mr Selassie says he does not know where Mr Curling is or how to contact him.

A Canal & River Trust spokesperson said: “While we will not share extensive details of ongoing cases, we can confirm that reaching this point is a result of significant non-compliance with the conditions of the boat licence. 

"Persistent non-compliance with licence requirements means a home mooring is required to relicense the boat.

"That requirement has not been complied with.  Without a home mooring, there is no right for the boat to remain on Trust waters. 

“Most boaters keep their boats licensed and meet the licence requirements. When this isn’t the case, we try to find solutions with the boaters concerned, with boaters having many opportunities to resolve the issues before enforcement action is taken.

Wiltshire Times: The court orders were pinned to the Aster by the Canal & River TrustThe court orders were pinned to the Aster by the Canal & River Trust (Image: John Baker)

"Where the issues remain unresolved, it is right that the Trust acts.

“The Government’s recent announcement of cuts to the future funding provided to the Trust and continued lack of provision for inflation, meaning a reduction of over £300 million in funding in real terms over a ten-year period, means that now, more than ever, our charity relies on licence income.

"It is important to show boaters who support the Trust by correctly licensing their boat that action is taken where boats remain unlicensed.

“Whenever boaters are facing serious difficulties we will put them in touch with support organisations, such as the Waterways Chaplaincy and various local independent services, as well as providing help via our dedicated Welfare Officer.”

Over the past three years, the Trust has been removing debris and structures on the canal towpath created by boaters moored near the Smelly Bridge at Bradford on Avon.

The legal action follows the protracted legal battle the trust faced to remove two boats owned by George Ward on April 19 and May 11, and his eviction this month from the canal towpath, with the help of contractors and police.