Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.

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.