HRO submissions

Attached/at bottom are the responses from various organisations which we have been copied in on.   Please let us know if you cannot read any and please send us any new ones - hro@oplac.org 

Here is OPLAC's submisssion:

From: David Beaumont [mailto:david@oplac.org]
Sent: 12 December 2019 23:59
To: 'HRO@pla.co.uk'
Subject: Feedback on the PLA's proposed Harbour Revision Order from OPLAC

Organisation of PLA Customers www.oplac.org

 

1. OPLAC campaigns for River Works Licence (RWL) holders and houseboats on PLA waters.

 2. A Harbour Revision Order is an extraordinary device whereby the PLA can ask the Marine Management Organisation to change an Act of Parliament without going through Parliament.  We note that this 2019 HRO replaces the aborted 2010 version, and is significantly more wide ranging and complex.

 3. OPLAC's general view is that the PLA were vested with caretaker responsibilities for the Thames.  On many occasions the PLA have acted as if they are the landlord - for example continuing to register the river bed to themselves with HM Land Registry.

 4.  We are sad to find that the current HRO proposal, introduced under the guise of 'The Thames Vision', seems  designed to re-enforce the landlord role.    For example it would introduce a new 'mooring permission' (with associated fees) for boats in addition to the existing PLA issued River Works Licences for the same boats.   It introduces a new definition of Mean High Water which increases the potential land area the PLA may register to itself.    It seeks to abolish 'ancient moorings' rights along the river. 

5.  We do not believe that all the HRO proposals are legal.  Whilst the Harbours Act 1964 does provide extraordinary powers to bypass Parliament, the objects of any HRO are restricted both to local changes and to revision and amendment. For example it is doubtful that the Act gives the power to create an entirely new 'mooring permission' charge along the length of the tidal Thames.

 6. The proposed abolition of the right to claim 'ancient moorings' is a major example of the PLA landlordism.  By the PLA's own estimate there may be 500 sites along the tidal Thames where ancient moorings rights could be claimed.  To set a cut off period for such claims, whilst keeping the claimants unaware that they may be entitled to make such claims, is not natural justice.

 7.  The new 'permission to moor' and associated fee is an entirely new power and, according to the wording of the HRO, an additional requirement to the right to moor given by a River Works Licence.  Therefore boats moored on an existing RWL will need to apply for (and possible pay for) a further 'mooring permission'.  At the PLA open evening OPLAC were told that this is not the intention of the HRO.  If so the HRO wording will need to be changed.  We note that the PLA have previously charged boats which are moored up without any River Works a 'mooring licence'.  In our view such a charge was outwith the Port of London Authority Act 1968.  The HRO aims to remove this lacuna. 

 8. A related concern about the permission to moor is that it will only be granted by the PLA to boats that are 'river worthy' in the opinion of the PLA.    This seems to be an open licence for the PLA to remove houseboats which they consider inappropriate in  high wash locations, despite the boats long pre-dating the wash issues.

9. Powers of Inspection.  The proposed HRO 'amends' section 137 of the existing Port of London Authority Act 1968 by adding, to the existing 3 simple paragraphs, a further 26.  Currently section 137 allows powers of inspection simply for the purposes of enforcing bylaws and to prevent or extinguish fires.  The new powers will allow houseboats to be boarded and searched/inspected in connection with RWL or moorings permissions.  It is difficult to see this as anything but carte blanche to invade people's homes and a police state would be proud of such a power. 

 10. Given the wide scope and complexity of the proposed HRO we are disappointed that the notice of the HRO was not sent to River Works Licence holders.  Those to whom it was sent received it at possibly the worst time of year, ending on the day of a general election and 12 days before Christmas. 

 11.  We suggest that the consultation is re-sent out to all RWL holders  and moreover, given the length and huge scope of the proposed revisions,  that the changes or additions that particularly affect them are highlighted.

David Beaumont

Chair

OPLAC

www.oplac.org

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David,
16 Dec 2019, 15:23
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David,
16 Dec 2019, 15:23
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David,
16 Dec 2019, 15:28
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David,
16 Dec 2019, 15:23
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