We are aware of the impact unauthorised moorings has on local communities. Tackling unauthorised moorings is complex due to land ownership. Landowners include: private landowners Environment Agency (EA) Network Rail Elmbridge Borough Council (only in a minority of cases) We have reviewed the option of taking on the ownership and management of the riverbank in Elmbridge. Unfortunately with ever-decreasing budgets, coupled with ever increasing demand on services, we are not in a position to take on the costs and liabilities associated with full riverbank ownership. Steps to be taken in the case of illegal mooring If you suspect a boat is moored to land without consent, you should first contact the owner of that land to ensure that they are aware and can take appropriate action to resolve the matter. Landowners can consider applying to the courts for a possession order, or other powers under their jurisdiction, to compel boat owners to move their vessel. You can report antisocial behaviour associated with moorings. We can investigate noise complaints, but the noise from generators, regular parties and loud music must be significantly intrusive and harmful to health. The sanctions for repeated trespass offences are increasingly stringent. A possession order is the most effective method for dealing with this issue and is the Environment Agency’s recommended approach. Legal action The law allows: within the Public Right of Navigation, boat owners can stop on private land for a reasonable period of time, if they have the landowners’ necessary consent - the Environment Agency’s policy, which Elmbridge Borough Council follows, defines 24 hours as a reasonable time boat owners can stay on privately-owned land for a longer period than 24 hours if they have the landowner’s consent to do so landowners that the boats are moored on can take action against an authorised mooring existing byelaws on Elmbridge-owned land are only effective on council-owned land - they do not extend to illegal mooring on private land What Elmbridge Borough Council can do While we are constrained by an absence of powers to move or evict boats which are not moored on council-owned land, we work closely with Surrey Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency who can take action. We have written to the Environment Agency and local MP, Dominic Raab, see letters and responses: Document Letter from EBC to EA - Unauthorised moorings 27 November 2023 (PDF, 144.83KB) Document Letter from EBC to Dominic Raab - Unauthorised moorings 27 November 2023 (PDF, 115.76KB) Document Letter from Dominic Raab to EBC - Unauthorised moorings 3 November 2023 (PDF, 323.96KB) Document Letter to Dominic Raab and Ben Spencer - 12 October 2023 (PDF, 136.37KB) Document Letter to Environment Agency - 17 August 2023 (PDF, 132.48KB) Document Letter to Dominic Raab - 17 August 2023 (PDF, 117.23KB) Document Letter from Dominc Raab - 31 July 2023 (PDF, 332.99KB) Document Elmbridge and Environment Agency meeting minutes - 14 June 2023 (PDF, 134.58KB) Document Letter to Dominic Raab - 29 June 2023 (PDF, 118.61KB) Document Letter from Dominic Raab - 20 June 2023 (PDF, 323.99KB) Document Elmbridge and EA meeting - 14 June 2023 (PDF, 136.27KB) Document Letter from the Chief Executive of Elmbridge Borough Council - 16 March 2023 (PDF, 154.1KB) Document Letter from the Leader and Deputy Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council - 16 March 2023 (PDF, 172.9KB) Document Letter to Dominic Raab - 14 October 2022 (PDF, 89.64KB) Document Email to Environment Agency - 16 July 2021 (PDF, 86KB) Document Letter to Dominic Raab - 12 January 2021 (PDF, 195.65KB) Document Letter from Dominic Raab - 11 January 2021 (PDF, 27.21KB) Document Email to Environment Agency - 3 July 2020 (PDF, 81.85KB) Environment Agency enforcement Mooring compliance and enforcement activities on Environment Agency owned land and moorings is undertaken by Environment Agency teams. All Environment Agency remote sites are monitored by local teams via routine foot and boat patrols. Successful action Working with our partners at the Environment Agency, Surrey County Council, Network Rail, as well as with private landlords, we have been able to take action against illegal mooring on the River Thames. Partnership successes include: April 2022: Elmbridge Borough Council had their planning enforcement orders upheld by the Planning Inspectorate on 4 boat moorings at Cherry Orchard Gardens, Molesey January 2022: a boater was fined for illegal moorings in Elmbridge - the owner of 2 boats has was fined £800 and ordered to pay costs of almost £21,000 for obstructing a busy part of the River Thames and was found to have broken safety byelaws when mooring the barges he rented out as accommodation at one of the busiest sections of the river, at Molesey Lock in Surrey October 2021: the owner of a pair of 25-metre houseboats obstructing a busy part of the River Thames at Hurst Park was convicted of breaking river laws August 2021: the owner of a house boat was given a criminal conviction and £5,000 costs after failing to remove a boat from public moorings following warnings For more information, see updates on unauthorised moorings.