CRT wins river licensing case
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.