A COUNCILLOR has been fined almost £800 in court after failing to register his boat before mooring it on the River Thames. 

Peter Kelland, who has been a West Oxfordshire district councillor for Eynsham and Cassington since 2011, faced Oxford Magistrates' Court after breaking the Environment Agency's boating rules.

According to the EA, Mr Kelland, landlord of The Ferryman Inn in Bablock Hythe, West Oxfordshire, told the court he had 'not used' his boat Vecta on the Thames.

But as it was kept at Nags Head Island in Abingdon, it still needed to be registered - the EA requires boaters to fill in a form and pay a licence fee for 'all boats kept, used or let for hire on the River Thames'.

Magistrates considered Kelland's case on July 3, and ordered him to pay a total of £790.85: £500.85 in 'compensation' (unpaid licence fees), a £200 fine, £60 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

In 2016 the Oxford Mail reported how Mr Kelland was one of four councillors who had been summoned to court, after failing to pay council tax.

At the time, he admitted there was 'no excuse' and added: "I’m just completely stupid when it comes to paying bills."

Mr Kelland has been contacted for comment about the latest fine.

The EA released details of the case yesterday, shaming Mr Kelland alongside three other boaters from outside of Oxfordshire for being fined a collective total of £5,000 between them.

Nick McKie-Smith, the Environment Agency's waterways enforcement manager for Surrey and the Thames Valley, said: "The income we raise from boat registration charges makes a vital contribution to the cost of providing our navigation service.

"Every owner who fails to register their boat is therefore depriving us and everyone else in the Thames boating community of vital revenue that could be spent on well-maintained locks, well-managed water levels and professional lock staff to provide assisted passage and speedy removal of obstructions.

"Owners of boats not displaying valid registration plates could also face prosecution, and be left with a substantial fine and a criminal record.
"It is important that they are aware of and adhere to this requirement.

"Ignorance is not an excuse."

Mr Kelland was charged with one count of keeping or using a vessel on the River Thames waterway without registering it with the Environment Agency.

This is a requirement under the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010, and an offence under the Order and the Transport and Works Act 1992.