The Environment Agency (EA) published its conclusions on 2nd December 2021 following the Navigation boat registration charges consultation that ran from July to September 2021.
The EA reported that there was significant opposition to the introduction of charging by boat area and the level of and profile of the charge increases over the 3 years. Despite significant concern from respondents about the total amount of the fee increase, the EA did not amend its proposal for an overall increase of 10%. There was particularly strong opposition to charging by boat area from boaters on the EA Anglian waterways, where this would have resulted in the steepest and most uneven increases. The EA maintains that there was good support for the majority of the proposals for changed fees.
The EA’s final decision is that charges will increase by the same overall percentage over 3 years but in a flatter curve with increases of more similar amounts each year: charges will increase by 4% in 2022, 4% in 2023 and 2% in 2024.
The EA will not implement charging by boat area on any of its waterways, but will keep the current charge mechanisms for powered boats and unpowered enclosed boats on each of its waterways.
The changes will take effect from 1st January 2022 on the Thames and 1st April 2022 on the Anglian Waterways and the Upper Medway. The Thames renewals will be sent from next week with Anglian and Medway renewals to follow in February 2022.
In its report on the consultation the EA stated that it is currently developing an enforcement strategy for navigation, with the implication that the main aim of the enforcement strategy is “ to ensure all users are contributing fairly to the cost of maintaining the waterways”.
A significant number of respondents raised concerns about the current level of service on the EA waterways. The EA responded to these by drawing attention to its Navigation Business Plan which it said “aims to improve the financial sustainability of our waterways and better align funding and levels of service”.
The EA also announced recently that it will set up user-based advisory groups to work with its staff on various aspects of its operations.
You can read and download the EA’s final response to the consultation here Consultation response – boat registration charges from January 22 – FINAL