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.