Canal & River Trust is announcing changes to future boat licence pricing following a consultation with boaters.
The Trust has announced that boat licence fees will need to rise above the baseline inflation rate for each of the next five years. In addition, the Trust is announcing the introduction of a surcharge for boats that continuously cruise and an increase in the surcharges for wide beam boats to reflect the greater utility they receive.
All this follows the consultation earlier this year, which was reported in May. You can read the report here.
We await the details of the increases which will be revealed in November when the next inflation figures are released.
NABO's long held policy has always been one licence, one fee and keep it simple. We know there is only one licence in law, and it makes no sense to muddle this. The issues of who uses more or less has been debated for decades, long before the current CRT staff came on the scene. We always concluded we were splitting hairs on this, there being arguments both ways. So we came back to one fee for the full system access. We are not in favour of RyanAir pricing with extra for this and extra for that. It could lead to an acceptance of a plethora of charges. And most importantly, it is divisive for boaters. We note that some of these views are not reflected in the CRT consultation report, but it is very clear that responses are driven as turkeys not voting for Christmas. Charging a minority more because they are a minority is not the correct way to behave.
On wibebeams again we had this debate many times but at the consultation of about five years ago this was fully discussed and concluded that area charges were excessive. Length plus was preferred and adopted. We are hoping that CRT do not change this option. We are unpersuaded that widebeam use significantly more of anything, and they are heavily restricted on range. The arguments go both ways.
On the issue of prompt payment discounts, this is really a matter fro the Trust to decide what discount will provide the incentive for users to pay quickly and annually. With the recent interest rate increases, the cost of money is increasing, and it would appear to be somewhat foolish to cut this.
The Fund Britain's Waterways petition is now LIVE and visible - please add your signatures and circulate far and wide. Let's deliver a hefty pile of pages to 10 Downing Street this Autumn.
Also, please download, print and proudly display a window sticker, which you can find here in colour and black-and-white. Whether you are afloat or on dry land, these will send out a striking message.
Many thanks again for your input and support,
Member of FBW Steering Group
Calor Gas have announced that they will now continue to refill the small 4.5kg butane and equivalent propane but only as long as the existing fleet of bottles remains serviceable. They will only be available at distribution centers, i.e., not at marinas. You can see the the announcement here.
We regard this proposal as useless, and our advice remains that if you can source an alternative to Calor that can fit your boat, and you can obtain it, go for it. If you can fit the larger Calor BBQ gas bottle in a locker, this might also be a good solution. We hear reports of boater trying to fit 6kg bottle horizontally into a locker. Don’t do this, as bottles must be upright to operate safely, allowing the liquid gas to evaporate in the bottle. We will consider what further action is needed when the BSS review is complete. We are in touch with some of the coastal user groups who are seriously affected with more than 10,000 boats with gas lockers tailored exactly to Calor’s sizing. Of course, Calor’s decision is commercial and they are not obliged to do anything that they regard a poor business.
We see the minutes of the forum meeting held on Wednesday 22nd December.
These include the first update we have seen on the recent facilities consultation.
Based on these results, we are proposing to include water, waste and recycling, Elsan and
pump-out in the minimum provision. There will be a maximum 5-hour cruising time between
water and Elsan points, and 10 hours between pump-outs (with more provision in very busy
areas). We are proposing that showers, washing machines and tumble dryers do not form part
of the minimum provision. However, we do not plan to close them immediately. Where
possible, we hope that other local providers (mooring providers, clubs) will take over the
running and maintenance of these facilities.
Although most boats have toilets on board, the consultation shows that boaters are keen for
the Trust to continue to provide toilets. However, they are expensive to maintain and many are
vulnerable to vandalism. We will maintain toilets in visitor destinations and where they are
used by staff and volunteers, who will be able to open them to boaters on request, but they
will not be public toilets for everyone to use all the time. MS welcomes the Forum’s comments
and ideas in relation to toilets in particular, as more work is needed on this aspect of the
minimum standard and it may affect disabled boaters in particular.
The details are here
We have heard from CRT that they have launched the first stage of their consultation on customer service facilities (CSF). This consultation is focused on helping agree a minimum standard of CSF that the Trust will provide. The standard will include;
There are also questions in the consultation about how we could reduce vandalism and misuse and whether there is demand for paid for bulky waste services.