THAMES BOAT LICENCE ROW GOES TO HIGH COURT

 

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The legal wrangle over boat registrations on the non-tidal river is heading for the High Court.

The Environment Agency has appealed against a court ruling that boats in marinas off the main river do not need licences.

As previously reported by River Thames News, a group of 20 boaters had argued that the marinas were not part of the river - and therefore did not need licences. It followed a move in which the agency had sought to prosecute some boaters at the Thames and Kennet Marina, Reading, and the Penton Hook Marina, Chertsey, because their boats were unregistered.

A dIstrict judge at Reading agreed with the boaters.

In a statement EA Waterways Manager Andrew Graham said: "We are exercising our right to appeal against the judgment made at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday 20 November 2015.

"We anticipate that the appeal will be heard by the High Court and its decision will be binding for the Thames and Kennet and Penton Hook Marinas. There may be implications for other River Thames Marinas as well as for other Environment Agency navigations.

"Unless and until we have a High Court decision that requires us to change our position, we remain of the view that all marinas connected to the main channel of the River Thames form part of the river as defined by the Thames Conservancy Act 1932.

"Any vessel kept or used on the water within them, should therefore be registered with us in accordance with the provisions of the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010."

A date has yet to be fixed for the hearing which is being seen as a test case for boats on the upper river.

December 14th 2015