The Environment Agency have recently announced their plan for registration increases for private boaters up to 2015.
They will increase navigation charges by July CPI + 2% each year to 2015. Navigation charges for commercial boats will be frozen at 2011 levels until 2015. They also plan to introduce a rolling year for annual registrations, which are currently issued for a calender year, January to December.
Following our review which included discussions with customer representatives, the EA Board met during October and approved our recommendation to continue with the intention of the three year charging plan and increase navigation charges for 2013-14 by 4.6% (July 2012 CPI of 2.6% plus 2%). For a medium sized boat, this means an increase of around £12 – £18 on an annual registration.
Increased funding from charges is part of a wider package as our waterways teams reduce their operating costs; prioritise funding to protect capital investment; increase income from commercial and external sources; and, deliver a sustainable service that meets the needs of our different customers as best we can. We are also engaging the support of local people and communities to jointly operate, maintain and own their navigations and how they are used and developed.
We developed this charging plan to work towards reducing our reliance on public funding as we need to provide a sustainable future for our navigations going forward, regardless of who manages and operates them. Cost inflation and reductions in public funding mean we must increase our income and reduce our costs to best sustain the needs of our waterways.
Not increasing our charges to help close the gap will mean that our locks, other assets and associated services that boaters need, will deteriorate at an increasing rate, and in the long term potentially require higher restoration costs. This is likely to increase the frequency of operating failures for locks, causing greater delays and closures. In the worst cases, this could result in structures and navigations becoming unsafe or unworkable for use and thereby closed until the funding is found.
The full announcement can be read here.
EA give an explantion of the increases and their costs for operating the navigations.
NABO Chairman David Fletcher said: "I am disappointed that EA have seen fit to make these increases, which is in contrast to the CRT who have committed to hold licence increases to cpi after next year. User groups predominantly objected to the increase above inflation, but were these aguments were was set aside by EA."