With reference to your article on 23rd December regarding new arrangements for the Environment Agency (EA) Thames visitor moorings, perhaps there are several points visiting boaters might like to take into account before swallowing this latest piece of idiotic abrogation of responsibility by the EA, writes David Mercer.
Firstly, they should ask exactly what the 40-odd enforcement officers employed in Mr Mckie-Smith's team now actually do for their share of the licence fee.
Then they should be aware that the ' private company ' collecting payments is run from a mailbox at a copy shop in Weybridge. Hardly confidence-inspiring, I suggest.
Prohibited from making overnight charge
But most importantly, before falling for the nonsense that they must compulsorily register their arrival every time they make use of an EA visitor mooring, they should bear in mind that under the Thames Conservancy Act 1932 and in the absence of any such relevant byelaws the EA is prohibited from making any charge for vessels moored at night or for a reasonable time.
The relevant legislation is Section 136 of the Thames Conservancy Act which states:
Charges for use of moorings.
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.
Has the EA thought it through?
Has the EA really thought this through? Is it really necessary to spoil the relaxation of Thames leisure boating for the majority by unrealistically (and probably unlawfully) demanding that they must phone or go on-line to a copy shop every time they stop for a short break, a cup of tea or to let the dog off, on a visitor mooring provided for such purposes?