12 May 2018 – EA Customer Charter 2018 Published

The EA have now published the Customer Charter for the non tidal Thames for 2018 which you can access HERE

This includes an updated list of priority locks showing those locks which should not be subject to double manning (EA speak meaning 1 lock keeper looking after 2 locks) during the season from 1st April to 30 September. We suggest that boaters print this document and keep it by the helm on their boat.

The TMBA are particularly pleased to have been instrumental in getting Temple Lock added to this list.

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2 February 2018 – Boat Safety Scheme Charges

We have been notified by the BSS Office that prices for BSS Examinations will rise from 1 April 2018.
The full Press Release can be read HERE

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29 January 2018 – Thames to remain under EA management

Government have decided to reject the Canal and River Trust’s recent proposal to take over management of EA waterways so the non tidal Thames will continue to be managed by the Environment Agency for the foreseeable future.
Management of the river has suffered some paralysis whilst the proposed transfer was under consideration but now that this elephant in the room has been kicked into touch we sincerely hope that everyone who cares for, uses and manages the Thames can start singing from the same song sheet and pursue a “can do” approach to the future of this great river.  In particular, there needs to be major effort to build new income streams to replace reductions in public purse funding. Recent enforcement activity by the EA has confirmed that licence evasion is far greater than previously assumed – losses due to evasion in 2017 could well exceed the additional income which will derive from the 5.7% increase in registration charges being applied for 2018. The TMBA and other boating organisations are pressing for urgent action to ensure that all revenue income entitlement is collected from those that are required to contribute.
Since its inception in 2011 the TMBA has expressed serious concern for the funding of the non tidal Thames – indeed, it was mainly this concern that led to the formation of the TMBA. The situation described in this paper from 2015 very much reflects the current position.
If you boat on the non tidal Thames and are not already a member please join us in representing the interests of powered craft boaters and other river users.

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1 December 2017 – EA 24 Hour Moorings signs

We have become aware of confusion regarding EA 24 hour moorings on the non tidal Thames. EA 24 Hour moorings are currently being managed by Thames Visitor Moorings (TVM ) on behalf of the Environment Agency and the signs at these locations are similar to this one:

Note that the lower panel includes both EA and TVM logos.

Boaters should BE AWARE – there are other landowners and local authorities displaying signs similar in appearance but with different and varying charges and conditions.

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11 November 2017 – EA Charges Consultation Outcome

Here is the full text of the email received notifying river user representatives of the outcome of the recent charges consultation.

Dear User representative,

We’d firstly like to thank those who responded to our recent consultation on our proposed charge increase for 2018/19. We had a reasonable number of responses from a good cross section of representatives from the four stakeholder groups.

Many of you gave very detailed and considered responses which we very much value. We have now reviewed them thoroughly and taken them into account when making our decision on the charges for 2018/19.

The responses told us you accepted the need to increase charges, and although many of you did not agree with the level of increase we proposed, you were clear that you did not want to see any decrease in service levels. We can only achieve this if our overall funding position improves against a backdrop of rising operational costs so, after much careful consideration, we are implementing the increases as proposed. This is supported by our Board and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

We therefore confirm our boat registration charges for any powered boat kept, used or let for hire on our waterways in 2018/19 will increase by 5.7% (Thames), 7.5% (Anglian) and 10% (Upper Medway). For all unpowered boats (not houseboats) and those registered with British Rowing or British Canoeing, it will be 7.7%. The Gold Licence will increase by 3.8%, which is based on the Canal and River Trust increase of 2.5% for 2017/18, and our increase of 7.7% for 2018/19.

As you know, this follows 2 years without any increase, and 3 years before that of minimal increases linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI): CPI only for 1 year and CPI + 2% for 2 years.

We have put together a summary of the consultation responses and our replies to the main points raised. This ….can …be found online at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/navigation-charges-consultation-201819 
along with the original consultation document.

We would encourage you to share this news with your members, along with the link to the consultation response document. Thames customers will be advised of the increase in their renewal packs which will be sent out next week. Our Anglian and Medway customers won’t get this message until their renewals go out next February, so we would be really pleased if you could help us spread the word in these areas.

Looking forward, we are starting work on a 5-year charging plan for Navigation for 2019 – 2023. We will also review the current boat registration charges scheme with the aim of creating a simpler more consistent scheme, which is easier for our customers to understand and our staff to apply. We aim to consult all our customers about this next year and will ask for your early thoughts in the next few months through an online pre-consultation.

Regards
Barry Russell
Waterways Manager
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