We’d firstly like to thank those who responded to our recent consultation on our proposed charge increase for 2018/19. We had a reasonable number of responses from a good cross section of representatives from the four stakeholder groups.
Many of you gave very detailed and considered responses which we very much value. We have now reviewed them thoroughly and taken them into account when making our decision on the charges for 2018/19.
The responses told us you accepted the need to increase charges, and although many of you did not agree with the level of increase we proposed, you were clear that you did not want to see any decrease in service levels. We can only achieve this if our overall funding position improves against a backdrop of rising operational costs so, after much careful consideration, we are implementing the increases as proposed. This is supported by our Board and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
We therefore confirm our boat registration charges for any powered boat kept, used or let for hire on our waterways in 2018/19 will increase by 5.7% (Thames), 7.5% (Anglian) and 10% (Upper Medway). For all unpowered boats (not houseboats) and those registered with British Rowing or British Canoeing, it will be 7.7%. The Gold Licence will increase by 3.8%, which is based on the Canal and River Trust increase of 2.5% for 2017/18, and our increase of 7.7% for 2018/19.
As you know, this follows 2 years without any increase, and 3 years before that of minimal increases linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI): CPI only for 1 year and CPI + 2% for 2 years.
We have put together a summary of the consultation responses and our replies to the main points raised. This is attached for your information and can also be found online at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/navigation-charges-consultation-201819 along with the original consultation document.
We would encourage you to share this news with your members, along with the link to the consultation response document. Thames customers will be advised of the increase in their renewal packs which will be sent out next week. Our Anglian and Medway customers won’t get this message until their renewals go out next February, so we would be really pleased if you could help us spread the word in these areas.
Looking forward, we are starting work on a 5-year charging plan for Navigation for 2019 – 2023. We will also review the current boat registration charges scheme with the aim of creating a simpler more consistent scheme, which is easier for our customers to understand and our staff to apply. We aim to consult all our customers about this next year and will ask for your early thoughts in the next few months through an online pre-consultation.
Environment and Business Manager – Navigation