Oxford City Council has joined forces with the Environment Agency and British Waterways to tackle illegally moored boats on the Thames and the Oxford canal.

The move has resulted in the formation of a new boaters’ group amid fears that a strict clampdown will force boats out of the city. Boaters met at the town hall to voice their concerns.

The crackdown was launched after the city council paid £44,000 towards work by the Unlawfully Moored Boats Enforcement Group (Umbeg), which also includes representatives from Thames Valley Police and landowners.

Mike Hamblett, who lives on a narrowboat on Castle Mill Stream in the city centre, told the Oxford Mail: “Now that Umbeg is being funded by the council I think more ‘no mooring’ signs will go up and boaters will be forced to move on much more often.”

An Oxford City Council spokesperson said: “The [Umbeg] meetings were set up by the enforcement agencies to tackle unlawfully moored boats along the riverbank and navigable waterways.

“Boaters are invited to attend the meetings and make representations. We are working in partnership with other organisations to ensure that the riverbanks are kept clear of unlawfully moored boats and those who have a lawful right to moor can do so.”

The Environment Agency is responsible for enforcing moorings on the Thames while British Waterways enforces regulations on the canal.

Among the reactions on the newspaper's website:
“A very underhand way of dealing with a small problem. There are already so many no-mooring signs on the Thames that people are giving up.”

Another comment: "I have worked on the river for 50 years, living on it for 20 but I deplore the rise in numbers of ‘live-aboards’. As an engineer I have been called out to boats I would not board for health reasons."

Story dated March 5th 2012









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