Full details have been announced of a pilot scheme to enforce mooring  regulations on the River Thames.

A private parking company is involved in the trials which have started in Oxford , at Weybridge, and Walton-on-Thames - Environment Agency locations where 24-hour mooring rules apply.

Announcing details, Nick McKie-Smith, the agency’s Enforcement Manager said: ”This is a positive move which we think will be welcomed by most  boaters who abide by the rules.”

The new move – first revealed by RiverThames News - is aimed at so-called overstayers, boats that ignore the time limit and sometimes occupy moorings for long periods.

Notices at the locations state that by mooring there boaters agree to a contract with the EA which includes abiding by the time limits.  

The private firm, District Enforcement, will not have staff on the river but will take over the legal process once offending boats have been reported by EA staff. The company has power to issue a £100 charge – the EA balk at the word ‘fine’.

Any further legal action will be taken under civil law and is based on procedures the company uses in car parks. Details have been drawn up in consultation with river users’ groups.

The first location for the scheme is East Street, Oxford, between Osney lock and bridge, pictured above and seen as a particular problem area.

Nick McKie-Smith (above) said: “It is designed to deal with the issue of persistent overstayers on free 24 hour moorings.

"There is a lot of demand for [these] moorings and we are trying to manage it so all our customers have equal access and are able to enjoy the river. Our customers tell us misuse of moorings is one of the biggest problems for them.

New scheme is explained to boaters

“We are confident that this approach will enable us to better regulate the moorings and enable our enforcement officers to spend more time dealing with other priorities such as boat registration and speed and wash offences.I must emphasise this is not about making money it is about proper regulation.”

Dyl Kurpil, Director of District Enforcement, said his company did not employ debt collection agencies and had no target for the number of tickets to be issued. He said: “The aim is to enforce regulations so that river users will benefit. If we never have to issue a single charge I can go back to the [EA] and say what a fantastic success it has been”

Louis Jankel, representing the Thames Navigation Users Forum, said: ”The move will very welcome by the overwhelming majority boaters on the river who follow the rules”.

The trials will be assessed after six months with a view to extending it to other parts of the river. The agency also hope to involve local authorities and private riverbank owners at a later date.

What do you think of the scheme ? email us for our River Thames Views page

Story dated August 1st 2013



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