The Middle Level Commissioners have postponed the requirement for boats to be licensed until 1st September 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Licensing and the payment of a registration fee was to be introduced from 1st April as the result of new powers conferred on the Commissioners by the Middle Level Act 2018 and associated Navigation Byelaws. The licence fee is also being reduced so that it is 50% of the Environment Agency (EA) Anglian Waters charges.
Together with other organisations and individuals, the NBTA petitioned against the Middle Level Bill in 2017-2018 and contributed to gaining a number of amendments to the original Bill that mitigate some of the effects of the Act on boat dwellers.
The Middle Level Commissioners’ notice says:
“The Navigation Advisory Committee have reviewed the position in relation to introduction of licences for Middle Level Waters which was due to take effect from 1st April this year. The committee agree that in light of the COVID-19 situation and reflecting on the impact this will have on the boating community, the date when boats will need to be licenced has been set back to 1st September 2020. The licence fee will now also be further discounted so that it will be equivalent to 50% of the Environment Agency (EA) Anglian Waters charges. One other change is that the Middle Level will not be issuing EA visitor licences as agents for the EA this year and hence there will no longer be a 25% cap in place for this.
Recognising that some applicants may find themselves in a financial hardship situation then it will be possible for such a vessel owner to request that arrangements be made to spread the cost of the licence over a four-month period, by making arrangements for direct debit payments as an example.
Applications for licencing for vessels (for the period 1st September 2020 until 31st March 2021) can be made anytime between now and the end of October. Due to current government advice on social contact the application forms are only available via the navigation page of our website www.middlelevel.gov.uk (for powered vessels the application form is already available and for unpowered vessels this will be added shortly). Applications can only be accepted by post or email until further notice, with payments being made by: enclosing a cheque, by card over the phone by arrangement, or by filling in the card payment section of the application form.”
The Middle Level Commissioners’ notice is here https://middlelevel.gov.uk/navigation/