May 20 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, June 30, 2012
New bylaws governing activities on the River Thames come into effect tomorrow, including a ban on swimming.
The new rules set by the Port of London Authority, confirmed by the transport secretary, come after five years of review and consultation with river users.
A person cannot swim anywhere in the river between Crossness and Putney Bridge without the prior written permission of the PLA.
Other bylaws which have been added or revised in a bid to ensure high standards of navigation and safety on the Thames cover areas including diving, local knowledge requirements, speed limits, carriage of Thames AIS (Automatic Identification Systems) and protection of the foreshore.
PLA chief harbour master David Phillips said: “The River Thames is challenging to navigate safely, particularly through the busy and congested stretch through central London.
“The updating and development of the longstanding byelaws is needed to ensure they remain relevant to the port usage, reflect the use of technology, and support the safe growth in river traffic.
“It’s important to remember just how much the river has changed in the 34 years since the bylaws were last changed.
“We now have growing commercial activity in the estuary and sea reaches, with ships becoming bigger and bigger, London Gateway due to start up next year, busy commuter ferry services and increasing use of the river by leisure vessels, combined with the established use for moving freight through London.
“And if you want to get a feel for how much things have changed, just remember in 1978, commercial activity in the port was declining, there were no mobile phones, the Bee Gees were topping the charts and the Ford Cortina was the best selling car.”