Following a successful pilot scheme last year, the Environment Agency is rolling out new rules to stop boaters overstaying at its free 24 hour mooring sites along the River Thames – a real bone of contention for the majority of responsible boaters.
The move will see car park style enforcement procedures introduced at all its 22 mooring locations.
The new rules are intended to stop inconsiderate boaters staying at mooring points beyond their allotted time and preventing others from using them. A fine will be imposed on anyone who flouts the rules.
At the 4 pilot sites where the rules were tested, compliance has rocketed with the Environment Agency receiving very few complaints about boats overstaying, proving that the system works.
New mooring conditions will mean that more people can enjoy the many benefits that short term mooring sites bring to not only boaters but the wider community.
Nick McKie-Smith, Waterways Operations Manager for the Environment Agency said:
Abuse of moorings is a big problem for many public and large private landowners on the river; that in turn creates a problem for law abiding boaters who want to benefit from the free 24 hour mooring period at Environment Agency mooring sites along the Thames.
We have listened to the concerns of our customers and feel that the success of our moorings pilot will not only benefit just boaters but the wider community as well.
Boaters will now have a fairer opportunity to stay at Environment Agency riverside moorings to enjoy the local towns, restaurants, shops and leisure facilities which the River Thames has to offer.
The Environment Agency and other public landowners (such as councils) provide the very popular short-stay public and visitor mooring sites to encourage passing boats to stop for short periods to enjoy the peace of the waterside and use of local amenities.
Nick McKie-Smith added:
Our pilot scheme has shown that a modern and faster enforcement solution is achievable for the River Thames. The extra 18 popular mooring sites which will be included in the scheme will deter abuse and help our enforcement officers concentrate on our other enforcement priorities such as speed and wash and registration offences.
NSL Ltd has been awarded the contract to enforce mooring charges to anyone found breaching the new mooring conditions, which will be indicated on signage at Environment Agency moorings. The new mooring conditions will ensure spaces are freed up to allow a fairer system.
Unless otherwise indicated, boat owners can stop for free on public open land owned by the Environment Agency, for a maximum period of 24 hours only. Some moorings have an associated charge, either for mooring at any time, or after an initial free period. Unfortunately, some boat owners ignore the time periods they are allowed to stay or do not pay the mooring fees where applicable.