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erivers last won the day on June 17 2018

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  1. The ML registration fee is the same amount as the EA Anglian fee - for your boat £1,091.62. Why the ML cannot publish this information clearly on its own website and application form remains a mystery.
  2. Quite disgraceful that there is still no proper Schedule of Registration Charges on the Middle Level website - merely a link to a third-party site. Not the only glaring omission, of course, because neither is the final (approved?) version of the ML 2019 Byelaws - the only vehicle for enforcement of registration and charges - anywhere to be seen although we are told that those byelaws have now finally been approved by DEFRA.
  3. Good to see the EA finally (but still only partially) climb-down from their unlawful attempt to allow a private parking company to impose conditions under threat of substantial penalty charges in default. The removal of the ridiculous condition of having to register arrival at any time is welcome but it was never going to be tolerated by most users and would never have stood up in court. But by now stating they "No return is permitted within 72-hours" they are still in breach of the provisions of the Thames Conservancy Act 1932 - Section 136 - which states that "in respect of vessels using any of the moorings in the Thames belonging to the Conservators (now EA) the charges appointed by the Conservators from time to time save THAT NO CHARGE SHALL BE MADE FOR VESSELS TIED UP OR MOORED AT NIGHT or for a reasonable time ..... A "reasonable time" now seems to have been defined as 24-hours which may be fair enough (although this would still certainly leave room for dispute in certain circumstances such as mechanical failure or personal emergency) but there is no legal basis whatsoever for imposing penalty charges on boaters returning to a mooring for an OVERNIGHT stay. And, unlike private parking schemes where an independent appeals service is mandatory there is still no such equivalent appeals service in respect of moorings charges against the excesses of District Enforcement Ltd often witnessed elsewhere.
  4. Thank you. But that still doesn’t answer the question as to why the MLC has to rely on reference to a complicated schedule of charges for a much larger and different waterway in a third party (EA) website instead of publishing a clear schedule of their charges on their own website as part of the licensing information - as required by the Middle Level Act 2018.
  5. Many thanks, nbfiresprite. Quite amazing that the (in their words) "fourth largest navigation authority in the country" should be so 'reluctant' to make a full schedule of their charges public by publishing them clearly on their website.
  6. nbfiresprite - Can you please advise where this information regarding the £118.80 set fee has been published/made available. I can't seem to find any reference to it on the MLC website navigation pages. Thanks.
  7. Another couple of gems from Alan's wonderful collection. First is a trial run of boats attempting navigation of the Old Bedford Sluice 'on the level' in July 1973 Second is a huge flotilla of boats waiting to pass through the Sluice on the way to the Ely Rally in August 1973.
  8. Here are some pictures from the work parties at Well Creek in October 1972. (From the collection of the late Alan Faulkner)
  9. The 2018 Act, approved by both houses of Parliament, does give the Middle Level Commissioners authority to make charges for use of the ML waterways. However, it is the Byelaws that authorise registration and registration charges and create the offence of failure to register or pay. The byelaws have to be approved by the Secretary of State at DEFRA. They were submitted late last year but have still not been approved. In effect this means that currently the MLC may impose charges for "use" but not for "registration" and without the approved byelaws failure to pay charges demanded is not a criminal offence. The only legal sanction open to the MLC would be a civil claim for non-payment.
  10. The Thames Conservancy Act 1932, in relation to moorings in the Thames belonging to the navigation authority, (and no subsequent Thames legislation or byelaw has over-ridden this) states that "No charge shall be made for vessels tied up or moored at night or for a reasonable time when not at work unless the traffic of the Thames is thereby impeded." No specific time limit is stated. It was this clause, when the EA was reminded of it, that stopped their nonsense about having to register arrival at a mooring or be subject to penalties. There is no legislation that permits that.
  11. I'm reluctant to add more to what I've already said on this issue except to say that the MLC registration byelaws empowering them to make charges are treated in exactly the same way as local authority legislation, It has to be openly advertised in local newspapers and the London Gazette, as does the formal approval of the Sec. of State when that is given. The onus is then on those affected by that legislation to comply. It is therefore important that the correct procedures are followed but that does not have to place any additional burden on the MLC to inform individuals.
  12. I'm sorry if people found some of my remarks offensive. I fully appreciate the difficulties experienced by authorities during the present circumstances but I cannot and will never condone any authority acting outside of its legal remit. They knew right back in April when they first set a date for commencement of registration that they did not yet have the legal authority. They also knew a few weeks ago when they amended the date to 1st September. A little bit of transparency would not have come amiss. The Middle Level Commissioners will, quite rightly, expect their registered boaters to fully abide by the law and to expect sanctions and penalties if they do not. Is it not perfectly reasonable to expect the MLC to demonstrate the same respect and compliance? I did ask the MLC directly about these matters but, and quite understandably in the present circumstances, have yet to receive a response. They will have my full support to introduce charges to benefit the navigation as soon as they are legally entitled to do so.
  13. Thank you, Christine. You make some interesting and valid points and it is good to know that progress is being made. However, I'm afraid that your description of "knocking" is inappropriate. All I seek to do is to ensure that the MLC act lawfully. It may not "make anything happen more quickly" but it might just make the MLC think twice before applying charges and seeking to "make things happen more quickly" than their legal entitlement permits.
  14. I have no idea but I would have hoped that someone on a "navigation advisory committee" representing boaters when told of the date charging would commence would have asked the MLC a simple question or two - "Have you received approval of the byelaws from the Secretary of State and have you fully complied with the undertakings given to Lord Thomas".
  15. Although I have no objection to the MLC making charges for registration (particularly in view of the undertaking they gave in the House of Lords that a proportion of receipts would be spent on maintaining and improving the navigation) the way they are dealing with the matter is an utter disgrace. To give a date for commencement of charges (1st April - later amended to 1st September allegedly because of Corona Virus!) before they have the statutory authority to do so is contemptible. There are a number of other matters which they undertook to complete before introducing charges, none of which seem to have been dealt with. They undertook to publish the APPROVED Byelaws on their website but they are still there only in DRAFT form. They undertook to annexe to the byelaws a procedure for removal of unlicensed vessels and to publish it on the website. No sign of that. They undertook to publish details of how they would increase amenity/ availability of sites for residential boaters. No sign of that. And they gave an undertaking that any decisions/actions on registration matters would be published and included on their website. No sign of that. One sometimes has to ask if the laws of the land actually apply to navigation authorities or if this is yet another example of one of them doing exactly as it likes!
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