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Source: River Access For All website.
- Historically, there was a general public right of navigation on all rivers subject only to the physical constraints of the river and the size/nature of the craft using them.
- Mr. Justice Lightman (in the case Josie Rowlands v Environment Agency, 2002) said "Public Right of Navigation may only be extinguished by legislation or exercise of statutory powers or by destruction of the subject matter of PRN e.g. through silting up of the watercourse."
- Other than specific Navigation Acts, there has been no legislation or exercise of statutory powers which has extinguished the general public right of navigation.
- Therefore there is a common law public right of navigation on all rivers where the situation has not been changed by specific Navigation Act(s).
Source: Boats On Our Rivers Rev’d Douglas J.M. Caffyn.
- From 1189 to 1600 there was a public right of navigation on all rivers which were physically usable.
- Rivers were more navigable in the period 1189 to 1600 than they are now.
- A right of navigation can only be extinguished by statute, statutory authority or the section of river becoming un-navigable.
- There is, therefore, a public right of navigation on all unregulated rivers which are physically usable.