The Environment Agency (EA) recently stated in a response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request that it will run a consultation this year (2021) regarding use of the power to remove unregistered boats in Article 16 of the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010 in the case of boats used as homes. This decision comes 11 years after the Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) was passed. This and other information was provided in response to an FOI request in May 2021 for a copy of the Environment Agency’s Boat Removal Protocol(s) for the River Thames and the Anglian Waterways.
The FOI response stated that:
“If a boat is unregistered then under Article 16 of the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010 we have the power to relocate or remove the unregistered boat from our waterways. The procedure is set out within this legislation. Article 16 (7) also includes a power to sell the boat to recover the costs incurred in the process.
We have stated publicly that, in relation to residential boats, we will not exercise our Article 16 power until we have consulted on a national process setting out how we will exercise this power in relation to residential boats. Work to develop this is currently in progress and we will consult upon it this year.
On the River Thames, we have the power to remove a boat that is “sunk, stranded or abandoned” under Section 16 Thames Conservancy Act 1950. The procedure is set out within this legislation. On Anglian Waterways, we have the power to remove a boat that is “sunk, stranded or abandoned” under Section 21 Anglian Water Authority Act 1977. The procedure is set out within this legislation.
In relation to a boat moored to Environment Agency land we have the legal right to apply for the people on the boat to be removed as trespassers under a Civil Procedure Rules Part 55 action. If the boat is not removed at the same time then we may have the power to seize and sell the boat under the court warrant.
Alternatively, we may serve the owner of the boat with a Torts (interference with Goods) Act 1977 notice, telling them to collect the boat. The owner will also be informed that if they don’t collect the boat within the specified time, then we will sell it and take our expenses out of the sale proceeds.”
The full FOI response is here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/boat_removal_protocol
In May 2010 the EA made an Undertaking to the NBTA that “Guidance will be written that deals with how Article 16 will be exercised, particularly with regard to residential boats, and such guidance will then be consulted on … Until this process has been completed, the powers contained in the Order which you have drawn attention to, will not be implemented. The Environment Agency will consider a procedure which may incorporate an independent appeal in relation to residential boats as part of the aforementioned guidance”.
The Undertaking also included an agreement to consider accepting payment of registration fees in 12 monthly instalments on a case-by-case basis for liveboards who are in receipt of Housing Benefit.
You can download the letter from the EA to the NBTA’s lawyers here 2010-05-11 EA Undertakings re TWAO