Boat dwellers in Oxford are under threat from a group called the Unlawfully Moored Boats Enforcement Group, made up of Oxford City Council, the Environment Agency, British Waterways and Thames Valley Police. Oxford City Council has just given this group £44,000. The enforcement group was set up in 2010 ‘to ensure that the banks are kept clear of unlawfully moored boats and those who have a lawful right to moor can do so’ according to the Council. We would remind all the members of this enforcement group of the lawful rights to moor enjoyed by boaters who live on their boats without a mooring under Section 17 3 c ii of the 1995 British Waterways Act, and also that the Public Right of Navigation on the River Thames includes the right to anchor, moor or remain stationary for a reasonable time. In a recent high court case regarding public rights of navigation, a QC made the point that there is no definition of a “reasonable time” allowed for mooring in the context of a public right of navigation but he thought 14 days was reasonable.
There’s an FOI request here http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/unlawfully_moored_boats_enforcem
If you live on a boat in Oxford, contact us if you want some help dealing with this enforcement group, as we may be able to provide some advice, or put you in touch with organisations that can assist.
STOP PRESS Oxford boaters are getting organised to resist this threat. See their Facebook page Oxford Boaters Against Persecution https://www.facebook.com/Ox.b.a.p Please post messages of support, copies of letters to the Council etc there.