Following confirmation of the 4.8% increase in boat leisure boat licences for the river the Environment Agency issued a statement to boating organisations:

Thank you to those of you who responded to our national charges consultation – we will provide responses shortly. We have considered all of the feedback received from both national and local customer representatives and we are now in a position to share the decision on the Navigation charge increase for 2014-15.

As part of our ongoing commitment to making our waterways more financially sustainable, we are increasing registration charges for boats on the navigations we manage by 4.8% next year, in accordance with our existing three-year charging plan.

This will help us continue to deliver the best service we can on the navigations we manage, as the funding we receive from Government – currently 65% of our navigation expenditure nationally (75% for the River Thames) – continues to reduce.

The increase is a vital part of a package of measures intended to make the navigations we manage less reliant on Government funding and more financially sustainable in the future. This includes continuing to reduce costs, growing income from existing and new commercial activities, exploring new ways of protecting the income we are due from all of our customers and working with a growing community of partners and volunteers.

2014/15 is the third and final year of the existing plan, which applies to all Environment Agency-managed waterways and uses a formula to establish the increase each year: July CPI (Consumer Price Index) plus an additional 2%. July’s CPI this year was 2.8% giving an overall increase of 4.8%. Charges for commercial boats will remain at 2011 levels.

We’re continuing to take action to minimise the funding pressures to stop the condition of locks and other assets essential for navigation deteriorating.  As well as increasing charges, our waterways teams are working hard to reduce their operating costs, prioritise funding to protect capital investment, increase income from commercial and external sources and, at the same time, deliver a sustainable service that meets the needs of our different customers as best we can. We are also engaging the support of local people and communities to jointly operate, maintain and own their navigations and decide how they are used and developed.

We are starting to consider our options for charges from 2015-16 and will be keen to get your views on the initial options and impacts, once we have scoped them.

What's your view. email the editor for inclusion on our River Thames Views page

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