Jones, Regina (on the Application Of) v The Environment Agency: Admn 13 Jul 2005

The Environment Agency sought to persuade the claimants that they must pay for licences for their moorings for craft on the Thames. The boat owners said that they had placed poles in the banks for many years, and that because the moorings were not in the water, no licence fee was payable.
Held: The intention of the poles was to keep the boats from coming over the bank in flooding conditions. They would not therefore be placed far from the water’s edge. ‘I find as a matter of fact that the part of the structures struck at by the notice, save for the gangplank which requires specific consideration, were originally placed in the bed of the River Thames. There is a very interesting issue of law as to whether if they had not been so placed the removal powers would have bitten at all. ‘ They were liable to be moved unless a licence fee was paid. Notices had been served by the agency requiring the removal of the moorings. After they had been there for so long, and given what would have to be done to make alternative arrangements the period of 28 days was manifestly too short. As to what constituted the bed of the river (in this non-tidal section) ‘ I regard the ‘bed’ as being the soil along which the non-tidal Thames flows at average winter water level. To that extent it will include side slopes which are thus underwater. The ‘bed’ is not sensibly confined to the purely horizontal layer normally covered by water in non-tidal waters, i.e. to the bed within the phrase ‘bed and shores’ where it applies. ‘Bed’ extends to the slopes similarly covered, and I do not think that for these purposes any relevant distinction can be drawn between the horizontal base of any cross-section and the more or less gradually steepening side slopes normally covered by water. ‘Bed’ should include those slopes which in the non-tidal stretch resemble shores in the tidal stretch. I select winter levels in order to fit best with the high-water marks used in the definition of ‘shores’ in the tidal part. ‘


Ouseley J


[2005] EWHC 2270 (Admin)




Thames Conservancy Act 1932 67


England and Wales


CitedConservators of the River Thames v Smeed Dean and Co CA 1897
The erection of a lock or pound lock otherwise than for the maintenance or improvement of navigation would be ultra vires by a Navigation Authority and in all likelihood a nuisance. Chitty LJ said: ‘The Conservators are a statutory body brought into . .
CitedRowland v The Environment Agency CA 19-Dec-2003
The claimant owned a house by the river Thames at Hedsor Water. Public rights of navigation existed over the Thames from time immemorial, and its management lay with the respondent. Landowners at Hedsor had sought to assert that that stretch was now . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 March 2022; Ref: scu.234564