BIG RISE IN UNLICENCED BOATS
CAUGHT BY RIVER PATROLS
         

An Environment Agency clamp-down on the Thames has seen four times as many boats caught without valid licences.

The figures come from the agency’s annual report. Its other headlines:

  • It spent over £9 million on locks, lay-bys and weirs.
  • All lock breakdowns were repaired within 24 hours – most in less than four hours.
  • The EA says it is meeting the targets set out in its Customer Charter;

The increase in the number of unregistered boats detected follows the introduction of a dedicated Waterway Enforcement Team and an increase in patrols, says the report.

The number of boats reported in use without registration was 1,034 in 2011/12, up from 202 in 2010/11; at the same time river patrols by boat rose by 75 percent. The number of boats moved on from short-stay moorings or charged mooring fees was also up, rising to 1,992 from 835 the previous year.

Matt Carter, Waterways Operations Manager,  said: “Our enforcement team has focused rigorously on detecting unregistered boats over the past year in line with the commitments in our Customer Charter and, as a result, we have seen a substantial increase in the number reported.

" We also focused more of our time preventing boats from staying too long at short-stay moorings and collecting charges at some hot-spot sites.

“Our officers also worked in partnership with the police, local authorities, and other Environment Agency enforcement teams to improve safety, prevent crime and reduce anti-social behaviour, enjoying a number of successes..”

In 2011/12 Environment Agency enforcement officers carried out 14 joint police patrols with the Metropolitan Police, Surrey Police and Thames Valley Police.

Officers were involved with two drug busts, helped police arrest two people for stealing boats and carried out a joint patrol with Environment Agency fisheries bailiffs.

During the 2011/12 year £3.7 million was spent on keeping locks and lay-bys in safe working condition and £5.4 million on weirs. In 2011/12, the Environment Agency repaired all lock breakdowns within 24 hours and 74 percent in less than four hours.

The report says the volunteer scheme, now in its second year, is going from “strength to strength.” By the end of the season 86 volunteers had been trained, providing 1,100 days of support to established lock staff.

It saus throughout the spring and summer the majority of locks were manned during key daylight hours for more than 96 percent of the time and none for less than 90 percent of the time, in-line with customer commitments.

The full report is available from: HERE

Story dated October 18th 2012

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