The EA have published the result of their Charges Consultation for 2019 and 2020 and have confirmed that they will impose the proposed 5.7% increase on Thames charges for 2019 and again in 2020.
The full consultation outcome document can be downloaded HERE
Thames boaters have fared rather better than Anglian waterways and River Medway boaters who are facing hikes of 7% and 10% respectively.
Regrettably, these increases will do little more than add some sticking plaster to the severe gap in funding – suggested to be £15 million per annum – arising from the governments austerity program and reductions in grant in aid funding for the waterways.
Whither does salvation lie? Only three options seem to present themselves:
1. Government recognises the public benefit of the waterways and provides a more appropriate level of funding.
2. Government pursues changes in current legislation to give EA greater freedom to pursue new income streams.
3. Government decide to press on with transferring the EA managed waterways to the Canal and River Trust which will also likely require further funding and revised legislation.
Note that all 3 options require government support and intervention.
In the meantime, all boaters can expect is continuing rises in charges and further reductions in services.
We have received interim information from the EA confirming that they received a total of 441 responses to the recent charges consultation of which just 159 were from Thames based users. Given that there are over 8,000 registered powered craft on the non tidal Thames this is disappointing. The total responses are barely 50% of the number received for the previous consultation last year when there were 870 responses nationally. Thames only figures are not available.
The EA expect to be able to communicate the outcome and confirm new charges for 2019 during week commencing November 5th 2018.
The EA consultation on navigation charges for 2019-21 closed yesterday. The TMBA submitted a formal response on behalf of its members and we await the outcome with interest.
The consultation itself raised several issues which we intend to pursue, not least how it was promulgated and the the form and value of many of the questions.
As we have stated previously, members of the TMBA are happy to pay reasonable charges for their enjoyment of a much valued navigational resource and understand the need to address the major shortfall in funding. However, we are not happy that we are being asked to support significant, above inflation, increases when many craft on the waterway are evading the payment of registration fees and many other current opportunities for revenue collection are not being diligently pursued.
A reminder that the EA consultation on Navigation Charges closes on 30th August. See detailed information here:
21 July 2018 – Why Boaters Should Respond to EA Consultation on Navigation Charges
We are also encouraging boaters who feel strongly on this issue to display a simple A4 poster on both sides of their boats ” SAY NO TO 5.7%”
You can download the file for printing here:
It is important that boaters respond to the latest EA Consultation re Navigation Charges so that, not only are their concerns identified, but they are counted in the total response
count. Far too often boaters tend to just shrug their shoulders and the result is that the EA claim they must be content as they have not indicated otherwise.
Because this is a public consultation responses will be from all complexions of river users. Boaters really do need to ensure their views are well represented.
The previous consultation prior to this years 5.7% increase attracted just 870 responses IN TOTAL many of which were from non boating interests.
The analysis of issues and views of those 870 was as follows:
There are over 8,000 powered craft owners registered on the Thames – Imagine how these results would have been impacted if even 1,000 of them had bothered to respond !
Note that just 191 said that lockside assistance was important and only 125 wished for more river patrols. We all know that this is not a true representation of boaters views.
If ever there was a time for boaters to unite and demand change in the way the river is funded and managed it is now. Please , please don’t just let this opportunity to be heard pass you by.
Respond yourself, encourage other boaters you know to respond, make sure everyone in your club responds.
Fairly represent your personal views but DO IT ! We can make a difference !
Here’s the link to the consultation again: CONSULTATION