Boris Johnson is annoyed, presumably because the PLA went over his head straight to the Transport Secretary:http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/boris-johnson-says-banning-thames-swimming-is-elf-and-safety-lunacy-7903649.html
Boris Johnson has launched a furious attack on what he calls the “elf and safety fanatics” who have banned swimming in the Thames.
The Mayor claims the Port of London Authority’s decision to bring in the bylaw is “bureaucratic bossiness” and is outraged that he was not consulted about the move.
Writing in his newspaper column today, Mr Johnson says: “This is the kind of gratuitous legislation that is sapping the moral fibre of the nation.
“We don’t need some bunch of well-meaning quangocrats to click their fingers and decide that sentient adult human beings must be kept out of the river.”
The bylaw, which came into force yesterday, makes it an offence to swim in the river between Crossness, near the Thames Barrier, and Putney Bridge without the written permission of the PLA.
The PLA reports to the Transport Secretary rather than the Mayor, which Mr Johnson describes as “an absurd state of affairs”.
He also admits jumping in the river at Chiswick, and says people like comedian David Walliams, who raised millions for charity by swimming 140 miles of the Thames, should be encouraged.
Wild swimming has increased in popularity and many campaigners are angry about the ban.
Chris Ayriss, author of Hung Out To Dry, a history of swimming, said: “People should have the liberty to swim at their own risk. It should be more about education than bans.”
A spokesman for the PLA said: “The new rules control swimming in the busiest part of the Thames. This is a dangerous stretch of the river, with strong tides and eddies that can drag a person underwater.”
About 30 bodies a year are pulled out of the Thames.