The EA National Navigation Charging Plan for 2012 – 2015 established that navigation charges would increase by CPI plus 2% each year to 2015, except for commercial boats where charges are frozen at 2011 levels. 2014 sees the final year of this plan which would mean a rise of 4.8% from 1st January 2014.
In responding to an EA national consultation regarding the EA intention to implement this increase, the TMBA included the following statement:
We wish to convey our concern that in recent years we have continued to face above inflation increases in licence fees whilst experiencing continuing reductions in services.
These increases are, effectively, arbitrary, in that they meet no specific budgetary objectives other than to marginally increase revenue.
In no way are the increases able to compensate for the reductions in GIA and we see no evidence of any serious initiatives to recognise and develop significant new revenue streams which are clearly essential if the current pressures on services are to be addressed.
At the present time it is powered craft that continue to be the largest single group of net revenue contributors.
A serious root and branch review of all river usage and revenue contribution is long overdue. The contributions paid by some other users of the river both as a venue and as a resource are completely unacceptable.
Now that the decision has been taken to defer possible transfer of the waterway to the C&RT it is essential that there be a firm plan of action to address the whole issue of sustained funding for the river.
Whatever the final outcome regarding the increase for 2014, there will need to be a new agreement reached with river users for 2015 onwards . The TMBA will be calling for a complete review of the charging regime and will do everything possible to try and ensure a better deal for motor boaters using the non tidal Thames.