At the end of April 2021 the Environment Agency (EA) resumed enforcement of the draconian restrictions and fines on its own visitor moorings on the River Thames, having appointed the discredited sub-contractor District Enforcement (DE) to police these in September 2020.
In an email to boat owners in April 2021 the EA stated that not only would it resume enforcement of mooring time limits with punitive £150 ‘charges’ at its visitor mooring sites, but that all of its so-called ‘wild mooring’ sites will also be policed by DE and that the EA has plans to develop some of these wild mooring sites into paid-for 3-day moorings.
This is despite the fact that a common law Public Right of Navigation has existed since Time Immemorial on all navigable rivers, that includes the right to moor for undefined temporary periods on the river banks, including on private land.
The EA has also made some small improvements such as stating that free-of-charge stays of up to 24 hours no longer require registration with DE, and has made it clear that conditions and any associated fees and charges will not apply within any reach where strong stream warnings are displayed on http://riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk
The text of the EA’s email to boat owners is below:
Dear non-tidal Thames boater,
If you received a 2021 boat registration renewal reminder from us,
you will be aware from the accompanying newsletter that we
appointed District Enforcement Ltd (DE) to help us manage
vessels moored in locations where we are the landowner, between
our locks, along the non-tidal River Thames.
DE were to implement management arrangements on our behalf
based on contract law and setting terms and conditions of use
designed to considerably reduce the number of boaters mooring
for longer than we gave them permission, and preventing other
boaters from enjoying our facilities.
Due to Coronavirus, the introduction of those new arrangements
was put on hold.
In the meantime, we have worked with DE to refine the
arrangements in response to feedback from boaters and
colleagues, and have made some changes to those that
Those revised arrangements are being rolled out to sites this
Please note that existing arrangements for short stay moorings at
our locks, which are managed by lock and weir keepers, remain
What has changed?
The main change is that we have decided to remove the
requirement that boats register on arrival at any of our sites. Stays
of up to 24 hours can be enjoyed at each location without any
further action required.
What arrangements will now be in place?
The arrangements will be set out in full on signage at all the
locations that DE will be managing on our behalf. By mooring,
boaters are agreeing to the conditions, and the associated fees
The arrangements differ slightly between designated short stay
mooring sites, and wild mooring sites. The key points are as
Designated short stay mooring sites:
Between our locks, we maintain designated short stay mooring
sites at 17 different locations, providing a combined total of more
than 3km of safe mooring space. We encourage mooring in these
locations, and provide some infrastructure to facilitate it. These
sites are listed at:
Here, mooring will be permitted for up to 24 hours without fee, and
for up to 2 additional days for a fee of just £5 per day. Payments
for stays of 2-3 days must be made in advance. By far the easiest
way to do this will be via DE’s dedicated moorings website:
www.where2moor.co.uk. Payments can also be made by phone if
it is not possible to access the website for any reason – the
number to call is given on the on-site signage. Cash payment is
not possible. No return will be permitted within 24 hours.
Wild mooring sites:
We also own other sections of riverbank where we do not
encourage mooring, but allow it for a limited period of time, as part
of the public right of navigation.
These ‘wild mooring’ sites are often areas of naturalised riverbank.
We do not provide any infrastructure to facilitate mooring, and
boaters moor in these locations entirely at their own risk.
Mooring here will be permitted for up to 24 hours only, without fee.
No return will be permitted within 72 hours.
Over time and where we consider it appropriate, we hope to
develop some wild mooring sites and allow stays of up to 3 days –
for a fee – at those locations too.
Trained, uniformed DE employees will carry out regular checks at
these sites, recording the presence of boats and evidence of any
non-compliance using body-worn cameras to support the
application and recovery of any appropriate charges. Users who
are in breach of any of the conditions will be charged an additional
£150 by DE. DE will send a Mooring Charge Notice (MCN), setting
out the amount due and the reasons why. The MCN will also
explain how the recipient can pay reduced charges (by paying
promptly) or appeal against the notice should they choose to do
Conditions and any associated fees and charges will not apply
within any reach where strong stream warnings are displayed on
If you are unable to move from one of our mooring sites for any
other reason, you must make DE aware and request an extension
to your stay. Failure to do so will result in mooring charges being
applied with any extenuating circumstances only being considered
by DE if you choose to appeal.
Requests for limited extended stays will be considered by
ourselves or DE depending on the circumstances.
However, boaters should have contingency plans in place so that
their vessel can be returned to its base mooring, or an appropriate
alternative location, if they are not able to navigate it themselves.
If vessels remain beyond any permitted extended period, in
addition to mooring charges being applied, we, or DE, may
remove it to an alternative location and seek to recover all
associated costs from the owner.
Thank you for your support
Our fundamental driver for introducing these new arrangements is
to ensure that all responsible boaters are able to use our mooring
sites in the way we intend them to be used, and the way
responsible boaters themselves want to use them – to stay for a
short period of time at a particular location, to enjoy the attractions
on offer locally, before moving on to do the same at another
location, freeing up the berth for someone else to use.
We feel they strike a good balance between our twin goals of
supporting all types of boating on the non-tidal Thames, and
preventing misuse of our facilities by an inconsiderate minority.
We hope you agree.
More information is available on our River Thames Waterways
Team Facebook page, or email WaterwaysThames@environment-agency.gov.uk.
River Thames Waterways Team