An increase in registration fees for boats using the non-tidal Thames next year could be pegged to 1.6%.

The Environment Agency proposes linking licences for craft to the July Consumer Price Index, announced today (Tuesday).

Earlier we reported:

The Environment Agency had planned to impose an inflation plus 2% increase but has climbed down after strong protests from boaters.

The Coordinator of the Thames User Group (Navigation) group, who had opposed the higher increase, said he was delighted that boaters had been listened to.

The increase, based on the July Consumer Price Index figure, applies to all the EA’s navigation registration schemes, including private, commercial, unpowered boats and block registration agreements with clubs and organisations. June's CPI was 1.9%, July's figure is due on August 19th.

Earlier this month the plan for a bigger increase had been put to a national meeting at which the Thames User Group (TUGn) was represented.

The group’s coordinator Michael Shefras made the point that the boating community was no longer prepared to tolerate increasing their charges above inflation.

Reacting to the latest announcement he said: “I am delighted that the EA have taken heed of the many letters from the users that have been sent to [the chairman] Lord Smith and the CEO Paul Leinster complaining about the imposition of the 2% since the announcement was made at the start of July. 

“Whatever the reason, the 2% is not to happen and I am delighted to hear it. There will be continuing discussions between users and the EA in coming weeks. It is only by working with the EA can we expect a service for those who use the Thames for recreation.”


The year 2014/15 was the last of a three year charging plan which saw charge increases of CPI plus 2% each year. The agency says it took this approach to both keep track of increasing costs, and to increase the contribution made by boating customers to the costs of delivering navigation services.
It said: “We need to increase charges to reduce reliance on Grant in Aid [from the Government]  to provide a sustainable future for our navigations going forward. This is part of a wider package as our waterways teams reduce their operating costs; prioritise funding to protect capital investment; and, 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 develop their navigations.

The agency will now consult on the increase before final confirmation and are inviting feedback. Contact:

The agency will also be inviting customer representatives to work with it over the autumn/winter to develop a three year charging plan to run from 2016 – 2018

Story dated July 22nd 2014


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