CRT wins river li­cens­ing case

Canal Boat - - News -

A BOAT IS in the ‘main nav­i­ga­ble chan­nel’ of a river, even if it is moored on the fringes in wa­ter not gen­er­ally used for through nav­i­ga­tion, the High Court has ruled.

The de­ci­sion means that the Canal & River Trust is per­mit­ted to re­move an un­li­censed craft from such a site.

The rul­ing came af­ter a case in which Leigh Raven­scroft’s un­li­censed boat Three Wise Mon­keys was moored at Farn­don, where (in ad­di­tion to an off­line ma­rina) there are pon­toon moor­ings at the edge of the Trent.

CRT re­moved the boat from the wa­ter (hav­ing first served a no­tice), but Mr Raven­scroft took the Trust to court for act­ing be­yond its pow­ers un­der the 1983 Bri­tish Wa­ter­way Act as his boat wasn’t in the ‘main nav­i­ga­tion chan­nel’, which he con­tended only ap­plied to the main fair­way or thor­ough­fare used for nav­i­ga­tion.

The Trust, how­ever, main­tained that in the ab­sence of any mark­ings of such a thor­ough­fare, this in­ter­pre­ta­tion would make it nec­es­sary to ar­gue the point on ev­ery sin­gle pros­e­cu­tion.

It held that this could not have been the in­ten­tion of Par­lia­ment when pass­ing the Act, and the phrase must there­fore ap­ply to the en­tire width of the main river (only ex­clud­ing trib­u­taries, streams and un­nav­i­ga­ble back­wa­ters).

The Judge sup­ported CRT’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion and dis­missed Mr Raven­scroft’s claim. He is re­ported to be con­sid­er­ing an ap­peal.

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