EA loses house­boat case ap­peal

Canal Boat - - News -

FIXED HOUSEBOATS BASED at a ma­rina off the Great Ouse, which would not be ca­pa­ble of be­ing moved with­out the use of two work­boats, are not ‘ves­sels’, and need not be reg­is­tered (li­censed) with the river’s nav­i­ga­tion author­ity the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, ac­cord­ing to three High Court judges.

The case be­gan In 2014 when two house­boat res­i­dents at Hart­ford Ma­rina re­ceived no­tices from the EA to reg­is­ter their homes, and on re­fus­ing (be­cause they didn’t be­lieve they needed to) they were sum­monsed.

But the Crown Court ruled in 2015 that hav­ing no propul­sion, be­ing fixed to the river bed by poles driven through brack­ets at their cor­ners, and be­ing con­nected to mains power, water and sewage, they were not ‘ves­sels’ as cov­ered by the EA’s In­land Wa­ter­ways Or­der and needed no reg­is­tra­tion. The EA ap­pealed, say­ing the Or­der was “plainly in­tended to en­sure that ev­ery pos­si­ble de­scrip­tion of ves­sel is brought within the reach of the reg­is­tra­tion pro­vi­sions”. The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the boaters dis­agreed, con­tend­ing that an “es­sen­tial pro­vi­sion of a ves­sel is that it is ca­pa­ble of nav­i­ga­tion”.

The Ap­peal judges took the view that there were le­gal prece­dents of float­ing struc­tures (such as land­ing stages) which had pre­vi­ously been ruled not to be ‘ves­sels’, and that the Crown Court had been right to view the houseboats in the same way.

Mean­while, an­other EA ap­peal is still awaited after it lost a case against boaters in mari­nas off the Thames, who the Agency claimed still needed to reg­is­ter their craft even if they never leave the mari­nas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.