Major licensing review underway
THE CANAL & RIVER Trust has launched the first stage of its consultation into a far-reaching review of the way in which boats are licensed – with nothing excluded from the discussions.
Having inherited what it describes as a “system largely unchanged in more than two decades”, and with feedback indicating that boaters believe “the current pricing can be unfair”, the Trust hopes to look at all aspects to come up with “the most efficient and fair licensing pricing structure”.
The first phase of the process, launched in February, was to consult boating organisations, asking them what were the “key themes they think need to be reviewed”, and how they believe the full consultation with the boaters should be run. This full consultation would then form the second phase of the process. Speaking to Canal Boat, the Trust stressed that all options are up for discussion, whether they relate to potentially controversial suggestions such as charging more for widebeam boats (pictured) or for boats without home moorings, or perhaps the use of charging systems to manage boat numbers in certain areas – such as an increased fee or some kind of ‘congestion charge’ in London or other busy areas such as the Kennet & Avon, but with a ‘free period’ for visitors.
However, CRT emphasised it would be looking to see whether these or any other suggestions came through from the boating organisations, rather than proposing them itself.