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Site of the legal pilot project at Weybridge


New moves are under way to tackle illegal mooring on the non-tidal Thames.

A ‘parking enforcement’ programme is being extended to all 22 mooring sites owned by the Environment Agency following a successful pilot scheme.

Government approval is also expected shortly for a new byelaw making mooring on land owned by Richmond upon Thames council a criminal offence.

Meanwhile action by Kingston Council has resulted in two boats recently being impounded.

The EA move is based on enforcement action on their moorings based on civil law drawn up originally for car parking. A private firm, District Enforcement, has been policing sites at Walton and Weybridge and in Oxford.

The rules allow mooring up to 24 hours free of charge followed by a £5 daily charge for up to 72 hours. Action is possible against over-stayers. A new contract  covering  enforcement on 22 sites is currently out to tender.

The tender document says: “Our mooring sites are spread across the length of the River Thames, from Gloucestershire to Middlesex. We held a successful six-month trial to manage our moorings based on the car park model. Our intention is to introduce this approach to 12 of our priority sites for the remainder of 2014/15, and then to all 22 sites from 1 April 2015."

Criminal offence

The Richmond council byelaw has received a provisional go-ahead from the Department for Communities and Local Government. The council say that If, as expected, it receives formal approval the byelaw means that if boaters moor up to council owned or managed land it will be a criminal offence which could carry a prison sentence and/or a fine.

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said: “I am delighted that all the hard work our officers have put into this byelaw application has been successful in gaining provisional approval.

“If residents support these new laws the council and police will take the fight to those who choose to flout the law and moor their vessels without authorisation. Enforcement action currently lacks grip and I hope the public, like Government, will support the council in its bid to rid the riverside of unauthorised moorings once and for all.”

A meeting of River Users Group 8 at Hampton Court heard from River Thames Aliance executive director Michael Shefras that concerted action by councils and landowners along the river was needed. The RTA was playing a coordination role.

Link to our earlier story on mooring clampdown.

Story dated November 3rd 2014