Current rules permit boats travelling along the river for pleasure to moor for no longer than 24 hours.

The EA said it was forced to take civil trespass proceedings as a “last resort.”

It says it’s after a series of complaints and years of failed efforts to persuade boat owners to move voluntarily.

Joe Cuthbertson, a manager at the Environment Agency, said:

As the navigation authority for the River Thames, we took this case to court to protect and ensure the public rights of navigation and mooring for everyone.

We brought these trespass proceedings against the boat-owners as a last resort. They have been moored continuously and without any right, unfairly denying others the chance to moor their boats on the river at this location.

The Environment Agency had received numerous complaints, and had tried many times to persuade those occupying the moorings to move their boats voluntarily, unfortunately to no avail.

Joe Cuthbertson added:

We are pleased that the judge has found in our favour, and we hope that the defendants will move their boats before enforcement action becomes necessary. This is all we have ever asked of them.

The court ruling does not prevent anyone from stopping to moor to the riverbank, including the defendants in this case, but it does confirm that no-one should abuse mooring rights. Rules and requirements around moorings are just one aspect of boating life that anyone should consider before deciding whether to live on a boat.