A city council is seeking powers to issue on-the-spot fines for boaters mooring without permission.

Oxford City Council  wants to impose a Public Spaces Protection Order across waterways within its boundaries – the Thames, Cherwell and Oxford Canal.

The order would give council officers power to impose £100 fines or commence legal proceedings which could result in £1,000 court fines for unauthorised mooring or anti-social behaviour near the waterways..

It would cover the mooring by riverbanks without permission from riparian  landowners, obstructing paths or waterways, putting up structures or leaving rubbish and failing to control dogs.

Jericho and Osney city councillor Colin Cook told the Oxford Mail: “The PSPO will be for the benefit of not just residents, but also boaters and tourists. It will make enforcement easier and less expensive.”

The plan is currently being considered by city councillors. The Environment Agency,  the Canal and River Trust and members of the city’s Unlawfully Moored Boat Enforcement Group, which includes police, colleges and local societies, are being consulted.

A PSPO is defined as a “means of preventing individuals or groups in a public space from behaving in a way that is having, or is likely to have, a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality; be persistent or continuing in nature; and be unreasonable.”

Evidence presented to councillors shows that in the 18 months to October there were 95 crimes reported to police on or next to the waterways of Oxford. Offences included arson and criminal damage, assault, public order offences, burglary from boats and boat houses and drug related offences.

The council report says: “The evidence suggests that the river bank gets eroded by boats moored irresponsibly, building up costs for the riparian owners and damaging the wildlife habitat.

“Wood has been cut down, diesel fumes emitted for long periods of time from stationary vessels and generators, which are not subject to the same standards and tests as road vehicles.

“Some of the built up areas of the city are covered by Smoke Control Areas, however, the smoke emission restrictions for domestic dwellings do not apply to vessels.

“There is evidence of mooring lines stretching across footpaths creating a danger for walkers and cyclists, and of the hedgerows being damaged by the storage of property and as a result of structures being erected.”

After being considered by council committees the plan it expected to go out for public consultation before moves to approve it.

It follows tightening of mooring regulations on other parts of the river, including Richmond and Kingston.

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Story dated March 10th 2016