Higher fees for wider boats as CRT com­pletes li­cens­ing shake-up

Canal Boat - - News -

Own­ers of wide­beam craft will be pay­ing more for their li­cences than nar­rrow-boaters fol­low­ing the Canal & River Trust’s li­cens­ing re­view – but the idea of charg­ing higher rates for ‘con­tin­u­ous cruis­ers’ with­out home moor­ings has been re­jected, de­spite wide­spread sup­port in the fi­nal stage of the con­sul­ta­tion.

In the fi­nal stage of an ex­er­cise which has taken over a year, CRT has an­nounced the in­tro­duc­tion of three width-based price bands to op­er­ate in com­bi­na­tion with the ex­ist­ing length-based bands.

• Band 1: up to 2.16m (7ft 1in) beam

• Band 2: over 2.16m (7ft 1in) but no wider than 3.24m (10ft 7¾in); fees 10 per­cent higher than nar­row­boats

• Band 3: wider than 3.24m (10ft 7¾in); fees 20 per­cent higher than nar­row­boats The changes will be phased, with Band 2 boats see­ing 5 per­cent rises in 2020 and 2021, while Band 3 craft will be sub­ject to a se­ries of four 5 per­cent in­creases from 2020 to 2023.

An­other change which will im­pact many boaters is the re­duc­tion of the prompt pay­ment dis­count from 10 per­cent to 5 per­cent – which will then be re­placed with 2.5 per­cent for prompt pay­ment and a fur­ther 2.5 per­cent for ‘au­to­mated pay­ment’ (such as di­rect debit).

On the sub­ject of boats with­out home moor­ings, even though a ma­jor­ity of those re­spond­ing to the on­line con­sul­ta­tion in­di­cated they would sup­port a change to take moor­ing sta­tus into ac­count as part of the li­cens­ing sys­tem, CRT said that there were “heav­ily po­larised views with a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber ar­gu­ing strongly against this, stat­ing that any such dis­tinc­tion would be highly di­vi­sive”. The Trust has there­fore de­cided in­stead to “look at op­tions that would ad­dress the grow­ing use of canals in Lon­don and other ar­eas by boats with­out a home moor­ing

and how to de­velop a fair means of re­flect­ing the sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit gained by such use”.

The re­sult of the re­view has been crit­i­cised by The In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion as a “missed op­por­tu­nity”. Chair­man Ivor Ca­plan slated it for do­ing “noth­ing to ad­dress two of IWA’s key con­cerns; the in­creas­ing use of wide­beam boats on in­ap­pro­pri­ate wa­ter­ways to the detri­ment of other wa­ter­ways users, and en­sur­ing that boaters with­out a home moor­ing cruise an ap­pro­pri­ate dis­tance.”

Lit­tle and large: the wide boat will be in a higher price band than the nar­row­boat

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