10 months after quizzing houseboat owners and carrying out inspections in Bembridge, the Marine Maritime Organisation has decided not to take legal action against those using ‘spudlegs’ within the harbour.
As previously reported by Island Echo, officers from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) conducted ‘pre-investigation’ inspections on Embankment Road, Bembridge back in January of this year. Homeowners were quizzed over possible offences due to structures entering the marine environment.
Locals claim they were accused of all sorts of ‘unlawfulness, skulduggery and mischief’.
One concerned resident has said:
“The means of pile moorings on each corner is a practice widely acknowledged as the safest and most environmentally friendly way of keeping boats safe and secure and commonly used and allowed in harbours across the country.
“We have doggedly pursued the matter with the MMO, or tried to. The vast majority of our complaints went unheard or unanswered. At the same time several owners had either paid several thousand pounds or been presented with bills north of £5,000 for what seems like totally unnecessarily licences.
“We have now had it confirmed by Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Isle of Wight Council that spudlegs do little or no damage, and certainly far less than the alternatives”.
A letter has now been sent out to houseboat owners lifting the threat of prosecution and forcing payment of expensive licences, as it is not in the public interest. However, the MMO says that any ‘licensable activities’ carried out after 18th November 2020 may be investigated and failure to obtain a marine licence may lead to enforcement action.
A source has told Island Echo:
“Although we have now received this letter, they have not answered any of the outstanding issues or apologised to all the owners for their behaviour, threats and intimidation.
“Such behaviour from a public body is totally unacceptable and I for one will be seeking such an apology”.