Release Date: 30/05/2012
Richmond Council last night (Tuesday 29 May) agreed to proceed with an application for a new bylaw restricting the mooring of boats on its land along the River Thames.
If granted it will give the Council new power to prosecute moorers who do not have permission to tie up their vessels. The Council hope the bylaw will open up the river to all boat users by preventing vessels from mooring for prolonged periods of time at the same spot.
The bylaw was drafted following a public consultation, as numerous boats were illegally mooring on the riverbank throughout the borough, without authorisation for months at a time. The Council and police had received regular complaints of nuisance and anti-social behaviour associated with the boats, including littering, noise, and intimidation from unleashed dogs. Despite repeated requests by council officers, most boat owners refused to leave and many remained moored at the same location.
Members of the Regulatory Committee voted through a proposal to introduce the bylaw to address the nuisance issues and force boat owners to stop mooring their boats along land belonging to the Council – unless there are signs displayed granting permission. A breach of a bylaw is a criminal offence which can be prosecuted in a Magistrates’ Court.
Cllr Virginia Morris, Council Cabinet Member for Environment said: “I’m delighted The Council has taken the appropriate action to seek the necessary powers to actively address this problem. We consulted the public on the best way to tackle this and I believe the bylaw is the right way forward and, given time, will enable all boat users to rightfully enjoy the River Thames.”
The bylaw will be implemented under section 235 of the local Government Act 1972. The final decision on the bylaw will be made by the Secretary of State and it is expected this process will take up to 12 months.