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Baits Bite Lock and Jesus Lock Islands 


Stakeholder Closure Statement

21 MAY 2024


Temporary Closure of Baits Bite and Jesus Green Locks.

Due to safety concerns regarding the structural integrity of the lock islands at Baits Bite and Jesus Green, the decision has been taken to temporarily close the locks until further notice. More detailed structural investigations will be undertaken and a plan for remedial works developed urgently. The Conservators are engaging with the Environment Agency and Local Authorities to seek a coordinated approach.


Further information:

The Conservators of the River Cam are responsible for the navigation (the river) from Mill Pool in Cambridge to Bottisham Lock (Waterbeach) and the locks in between, namely Jesus Green Lock (JGL) in Cambridge and Bait’s Bite Lock (BBL). 

Each lock has an island between the lock chamber and the sluice and weir structures, which it supports. At both Jesus Lock and Baits Bite Lock, the Conservators own the lock and lock island, while the Environment Agency (EA) own and operate the sluice and weir. In addition, the lock islands support footbridges and public right of way in these locations, which are managed by the relevant Local Authorities.

Following observations of cracks in both lock islands, early in 2024 the Conservators of the River Cam commissioned structural surveys.

The consequent reports identify significant structural fragility in the lock islands and a need for reinforcement work in the short to medium term.

The Conservators have collectively reviewed the reports and are urgently drawing up a detailed risk assessment, commissioning more detailed surveys, and developing a project plan for remedial works.


For any enquiries, please contact the Clerk for the Conservators of the River Cam: Tracy Yarrow @

Mob: 07549 018909

Frequently Asked Questions

This information has been collated to assist the public with upto date answers regarding the situation at Baits Bite Lock and Jesus Lock. 

Updated: 13/06/2024

  • Do I still need to pay my registration fees in view of the lock closures? 

    • Yes, it is a requirement of the Conservancy Byelaws 8.1 that “no person shall cause or permit to be brought kept or let for hire or used on the river any pleasure boat unless it is registered annually with the Conservators and such annual fees have been paid.” Please see next question about fees and discounts for more information.

  • Will there be any discounts or refunds as regards to registration fees due to the closures of Baits Bite and Jesus Locks?

    • The closure situation is being monitored. The Conservators are aware of concerns. This issue will be reviewed once the likely length of the closures becomes clearer and any attendant impacts.

  • In view of the recent lock closures what are the Conservators’ view about wild mooring alongside Conservancy land from Clayhithe towards Horningsea?

    • There is the possibility that we can grant temporary wild mooring at the moorer’s own risk for those who usually moor above Baits Bite but cannot presently get back. Those who fit into the above criteria are invited to apply. Please email your enquiry to

  • What do the Conservancy fees pay for?

    • For Example:

    • Weed Cutting

    • Removing river obstructions

    • Bank Revetment work

    • Essential Tree Management

    • Oversight of Events

    • Engagement with vessel owners, members of the public

    • Engagement with support services and charities regarding vulnerable vessel owners

    • Land maintenance

    • Contract commitments

    • Facilities management (Maintenance/renewals)

    • Equipment management (maintenance/renewals)

    • Vessel management (maintenance/renewals)

    • Infrastructure management (maintenance/renewals)

    • Incident Reporting

    • Compliance management (Health & Safety, HR and Financial management/Audit)

    • Staff salaries (4.5FTE)

    • Byelaw enforcement and patrol

    • Court attendance

    • IT infrastructure & maintenance

    • Partner engagement (Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Environment Agency, riparian owners, Safety advisory groups, Emergency Services, South Cambs District Council.

  • Why are you closing the locks?

    • We are closing the locks because the state of the lock islands presents a risk to the public. 

  • When will the Conservators reconsider the closure?

    • More detailed structural surveys are being commissioned by the Conservators to enable a better understanding of the issues, risks, and potential solutions. The Conservators will reconsider closure in the light of these surveys.

  • How serious is the structural condition of the lock islands; will they collapse entirely or imminently?

    • We don’t really know, which is why further investigations are needed. The structural engineer’s reports say that the lock islands are at risk of “catastrophic failure in the short to medium term.” There are visible cracks in the lock islands which are growing, and other structural instabilities.

  • What would happen if there was a “catastrophic failure”?

    • There are a number of possible scenarios for how the structure might fail, and a number of possible impacts of such a failure. We will be investigating both aspects as part of the further more detailed work.

  • I am a resident boater but my vessel is currently away from Cambridge; will I be able to return?

    • Yes, if moored downstream of Baits Bite Lock

    • No, if moored upstream of Baits Bite Lock, the lock is closed to all vessels.

  • Is there any provision for visiting powered boats to use the locks?

    • No, the lock is closed to all vessels.

  • The locks look safe to me; can I use them at my own risk?

    • No, the locks are closed to all vessels.

  • I am a rower / kayaker / SUP user; can I portage my boat around the locks?

    • Yes, the towpath remains in use at both locations

  • I usually pump out my boat at the Cambridge pumpout station; what can I do?

    • If you moor above Baits Bite lock, you can continue to use the City Council’s pumpout facilities at Jesus Green. If you moor below Baits Bite lock, you can use the Environment Agency’s pumpout facilities at Ely.

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