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EA 'lock' mooring fees - changes

Outinthedinghy

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18 May 2008
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Limehouse hole
Exactly.

I've had a parking notice from one of these companies due to leaving my car in a "controlled" car park. No parking fee option just a BS threat notice.
They sent me several letters which I put in the fire.

If they want to pursue me then I will be happy to see them in court. Where they will lose.
 

kdb8

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2 Sep 2020
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The process for issuing penalty notices for parking on private land has several safeguards.
Importantly, and by law, the parking enforcement company can only obtain the registered keeper's details if they are members of an accredited trade association which must also by law offer an independent appeals process.
But there are no such safeguards with these penalty charges for mooring. There is no independent appeals process and no requirement for the issuing company to be a member of any accredited organisation to oversee the process and uphold standards.
In order to give boat registration details to the likes of District Enforcement, the EA merely has to satisfy the provisions of Section 10(3) of the EA (Inland Waterways) Order 2010 .............. "Information may be supplied to any person who can show to the satisfaction of the Agency or the Secretary of State reasonable cause for wanting the particulars to be made available to that person."
Without similar safeguards the process of issuing private penalty notices for alleged infringement of (often unclear) mooring restrictions is wide open to abuse.
 

boatone

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Just a few cables from Boulters Lock
Trying to unravel the provisions of the TC Act and associated legislation is laborious and boaters will seldom have the tenacity and funding to pursue legal challenge.
It appears that imposition of penalty charges as envisaged is not permitted under current legislation and the EA clearly cannot empower an agent to act in any way that it it is not legally empowered to act on its own behalf.
The problem, as always, is how to hold the EA to account.
Regrettably, boaters have rarely acted in unison to oppose the authority of the day on issues affecting their enjoyment of the river.
 

Old Crusty

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Trying to unravel the provisions of the TC Act and associated legislation is laborious and boaters will seldom have the tenacity and funding to pursue legal challenge.
It appears that imposition of penalty charges as envisaged is not permitted under current legislation and the EA clearly cannot empower an agent to act in any way that it it is not legally empowered to act on its own behalf.
The problem, as always, is how to hold the EA to account.
Regrettably, boaters have rarely acted in unison to oppose the authority of the day on issues affecting their enjoyment of the river.
Being the sad, TCA anorak, I have unraveled the laws governing mooring.

While the EA may have the lawful opportunity to use a third party to manage moorings on its behalf, it is still required to act within the law. DE’s operational/contractural policy has stated on its pilot scheme signage that it required boaters to register their arrival time when they tied up at an EA mooring even for a short period or overnight stay. Failure to do so would attract a penalty charge.

Under the TCAs and the General Byelaws, there is no requirement to register arrival at any EA mooring and the first 24 hours mooring is free of charge. DE’s pilot scheme requirements demanded that boaters did register with them either online or by telephone or by notifying the duty lock keeper nearby. In allowing and condoning this requirement, the EA has aided and abetted DE to act outside of the law. This could lead to a complaint or tort of misfeasance in public office against the EA.

I copy below the Thames Conservancy Acts and General Byelaws sections and amendments that pertain to EA moorings. You will see that the acts and byelaws are silent on any requirement to register arrival at any EA mooring. Therefore, there can be no compulsion placed upon boaters to comply with the previous DE requirement to register arrival when this is not required under the law and boaters may not be penalised or charged for failing to comply with an unlawful request.

We must wait to see what any requirements may be when the new signage is erected. If DE do require to know the time of arrival, the onus must be on DE, not the boater, to establish that arrival time.

It would require a new act of parliament or a statutory instrument to change the law's silence on this matter and I think HMG is a bit busy with other stuff at the moment.

Once we know the new process for using EA moorings, we can decide how to respond.

Mooring charges
Thames Conservancy Act 1932 S.136. The Conservators may from time to time and receive in respect of vessels using any of the use of moorings in the Thames belonging to the Conservators moorings. the charges appointed by byelaws of the Conservators for the time being in force save that no charge shall be made for vessels tied up or moored at night or for a reasonable time when not at work unless the traffic of the Thames is thereby impeded.

Amendment 23
Thames Conservancy Act 1972 Section 136 (Charges for use of moorings) of the Act of sections 136... of 1932 shall have effect as if the words byelaws of were of Act of omitted and as if for the words "for the time being in force" 1932 and there were substituted the words "from time to time ". section 15 of Act of 1950.

Byelaws
Prohibition of obstruction


54 (a) Except in an emergency or due to unavoidable cause or with the consent of the Authority the master of any vessel shall not anchor moor berth or otherwise stop in such a position as to impede the clear and free passage of any other vessel or otherwise obstruct the navigation of the river or the use of the banks or towpath thereof.

(b) When the master of any vessel anchors moors or stops in front of the towpath he shall ensure that the mast towing-mast or aerial or other similar moveable obstruction (if any) as the case may be shall be lowered so as to permit the towing lines of any vessel to pass without obstruction and that the vessel shall be securely made fast at head and stern and that it shall be laid as close to and along the bank of such towpath as conveniently may be.

Vessels to be made fast at moorings etc.

55 The master of any vessel at anchor or lying moored at or attached to any moorings mooring buoy mooring post dolphin jetty wharf or landing-place shall at all times take all reasonable steps to ensure that it be kept properly and effectually secured or made fast.

Notice of anchor left in the river

56 The master of every vessel which has slipped parted from or lost any anchor cable or propeller shall as soon as practicable give notice thereof and of the position of such anchor cable or propeller to the Authority.

Mooring, anchoring and vessels attached to moorings

57 (a)The master or person in charge of any houseboat or launch who causes that houseboat or launch to be anchored moored or remain stationary during the course of ordinary navigation shall ensure that no annoyance be caused to any occupier of a riparian residence by reason of the loitering or delay of that houseboat or launch.

(b) The master of any power-driven vessel attached to any moorings mooring buoy mooring post dolphin jetty wharf or landing-place shall ensure that her engines are not worked in a manner risking causing injury or damage to such moorings mooring buoy mooring post dolphin jetty wharf or landing-place or any vessel or thing whatsoever or in such manner to give reasonable cause for annoyance to any person on the waterway or on the banks
.
 
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Mark26

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17 Nov 2017
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Penton Hook
Just to add my tuppence worth...
I also have no objection to registering my arrival, I’m pleased the moorings remain free for 24hrs, and hope the system will stop others abusing the moorings.

A lot of people here seem to object, the system is designed to stop the moorings being abused, surely it is better we all work with it, rather than trying to fight it.
 

Old Crusty

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I don't object to the moorings being managed for the benefit of all, I do object to the EA seemingly to be acting outside of the law and encouraging its contractor to do the same. That must be challenged.
 

kdb8

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Just to add my tuppence worth...
I also have no objection to registering my arrival, I’m pleased the moorings remain free for 24hrs, and hope the system will stop others abusing the moorings.

A lot of people here seem to object, the system is designed to stop the moorings being abused, surely it is better we all work with it, rather than trying to fight it.
A fair point, but really just the slippery slope down. The TCA is clear - NO CHARGE for 24 hours or overnight - with no conditions other than those preventing obstruction. For the EA to ignore the law and facilitate enrichment of a private company whose only interest is maximising that income and with no right of appeal is unacceptable.
 

TrueBlue

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I don't object to the moorings being managed for the benefit of all, I do object to the EA seemingly to be acting outside of the law and encouraging its contractor to do the same. That must be challenged.
Agreed - but how
I don't expect EA will take much notice of a single / a few boaters
Few boaters read this forum and I guess not many of them will take much notice,
That leaves the TMBA and I'm sure B1 will have some comment - privately or publicly and perhaps the ATYC.
 

Old Crusty

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Agreed - but how
I don't expect EA will take much notice of a single / a few boaters
Few boaters read this forum and I guess not many of them will take much notice,
That leaves the TMBA and I'm sure B1 will have some comment - privately or publicly and perhaps the ATYC.
My letter of complaint is drafted. Once I know the wording of the DE signage, should it be necessary, I will raise the matter with the EA, copy Sir James Bevan CEO, whoever is Environment Secretary at the time and the ombudsman.
 

kdb8

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I wrote to the EA in December 2014 when this nonsense first appeared. I don't recall getting any response at the time.
I later asked them (under FoI) for a copy of the contract between the EA and Thames Visitor Moorings and details of any payments made to that company.
They refused, saying that - 1) No contract was in place and - 2) Dealings with TVM were confidential.
I appealed to the Information Commissioner, saying that it was inconceivable that the EA had no contract in place with a company with which they were sharing personal data and paying sums of public money to.
The IC upheld my complaint and the EA did eventually provide the Contract with TVM and details of amounts paid to them in 2017/18.

After that, the TVM and DE nonsense about registering arrival under threat of penalty charges seemed to disappear. Is it really back?

My 2014 letter:

The Waterways Manager
Environment Agency
Kings Meadow House,
Reading,
Berkshire,
RG1 8DQ

17th December 2014

Dear Sir
Thames Mooring Enforcement Trial

(DE Weybridge sign attached)

I should be grateful if you would kindly provide an explanation as to how the conditions in this misleading notice can possibly be lawful.
You will, I am sure, be aware of Section 136 of the Thames Conservancy Act 1932 which states:

136. The Conservators may from time to time demand and receive in respect of vessels using any of the moorings in the Thames belonging to the Conservators the charges appointed by byelaws of the Conservators for the time being in force save that no charge shall be made for vessels tied up or moored at night or for a reasonable time when not at work unless the traffic of the Thames is thereby impeded.

This section was subsequently amended by the 1972 Act, which removes the reference to byelaws and inserts the words ‘from time to time’. In effect therefore, Section 136 now reads:

(b) Mooring charges.

136. The Conservators may from time to time demand and receive in respect of vessels using any of the moorings in the Thames belonging to the Conservators the charges appointed by the Conservators from time to time save that no charge shall be made for vessels tied up or moored at night or for a reasonable time when not at work unless the traffic of the Thames is thereby impeded.

It would appear that the conditions on your notice and in particular the phrases “at any time”, “where no pre-payment has been made” and “returns to the location within 24 hours of leaving” may be in direct conflict with the provisions of Section 136 which allow any vessel to moor free of any charge (which must include a penalty charge) overnight or for a reasonable time.

I hope you will give the matter some serious consideration before extending this scheme to other sites.
 

Attachments

Barge

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6 Jul 2019
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It is nonsense and you wouldn't mind but we have been here before... I hope we aren't going through it all again.

How much of a problem is over-staying anyway? And, on the occasions when moorings are abused long term it's going to be by a boat that has no name, licence, BS, and no hope of paying any fine enforceable or not. When it does eventually get moved on it will be by a agency action.

And how much are the EA paying for this lot? I bet it isn't going to be for nothing, and they won't make enough from their "fines" to make it worthwhile.

Leave it to the keepers to patrol like at Goring - works well and all the money goes to the agency. Distant moorings will just have to be monitored as best they can by the patrol launches.
 

Outinthedinghy

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I was told by someone recently that the patrol boats going around enforcing moorings controls may -possibly- be straying into harassment territory.

If they come alongside and cause annoyance or grievance to you as the boat owner...

I don't know how relevant it is but I thought quite interesting.

Probably more of a serious issue with a national agency than it would be with a smaller operator or someone who covers everything in wordy signage.
 

Old Crusty

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I was told by someone recently that the patrol boats going around enforcing moorings controls may -possibly- be straying into harassment territory.

If they come alongside and cause annoyance or grievance to you as the boat owner...

I don't know how relevant it is but I thought quite interesting.

Probably more of a serious issue with a national agency than it would be with a smaller operator or someone who covers everything in wordy signage.
It's as much harassment as a police officer telling you to move along when parked on double yellow lines. If there's no-one aboard, we used to leave a 'directions to move' notice that usually did the trick. Unmarked vessels can be dealt with using IWO 2010 article 16, if the EA has the cahones.

Harassment is often the claim of those bending the regulations when asked to comply.
 

sarabande

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up on the moors.
"DE receive a fee for the work they carry out on our behalf, but we expect this to be dwarfed by the extra income more effective management of our mooring facilities will generate. We will reinvest the extra income in improving the range of services and facilities we provide to Thames boaters."

Promises, promises ! Jam tomorrow.
 

TrueBlue

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DE's contract is only for EA's official mooring sites - not any other land that EA may own.
IIRC the desborough mooring is very small - a couple or three boats only. Although a start, I can't see it making much difference...
 

Barge

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They may be taking a look at Desborough cut, along with the island mooring.
 

Outinthedinghy

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Someone hasn't done their research properly !

IMG_20201014_170747.jpg
Is this what they called a "library picture"?

Last time I went down Desborough cut earlier in the year there were about a dozen boats moored there. Some quite large ones. Mostly near the downstream bridge where that photo was taken.

This is a recent phenomenon.

Maybe the occasional Birchwood TS37 going flat out for time trials would help disperse the boats ?

Got to keep up the old traditions. I have some fond memories of late 80s racing in my Broom Scorpio up that way. It struggled to plane with just a 30 on it but once it got going it was quite fast :)
 

Old Crusty

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Mooring in Desborough Cut is not permitted and if I can find the relevant regulation I will post it here. While based out of Shepperton Nav Office, that is just 200m across the river, we used to slap any boats with harbourmaster's directions to move and then tow away if they failed to comply. It ain't difficult.
 
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