Boat owners on the non-tidal Thames look set pay an extra 1.6% for annual licences next year.

The figure is based on the July Consumer Price Index figure and follows protests from boaters that the Environment Agency was again planning to add a further amount over and above inflation - it has been 2% in recent years - to the registration charge. This has been added in the last few years to help plug a funding gap for the EA as the Government has consistently reduced its contribution to the running of the river - known as Grant in Aid.

Boaters, led by the Thames Users Group Navigation (TUGn), protested and many river users have argued they are bearing too much of the total cost of maintaining the Thames.

As earlier reported by River Thames News, the EA indicated last month that the next increase would be based solely on July's inflation figure. This figure then fell from June's 1.9%.

TUGn Coordinator Michael Shefras said: " “We are now aware that July 2014 CPI is the expected 1.6% increase which should now mean that the boaters will just have this increase on their registration charges for 2015.  

" It is expected that EA will be inviting representatives to meet with them to consider how they meet the funding gap between income and costs should government Grant in Aid decrease dramatically.   

"Thames User Group (Navigation) maintain that government have a duty to finance the River Thames from taxation as the river is a public benefit.”


Angela Quayle, EA Environment & Business Manager for Navigation said: " The proposed increase would apply to current charges for all our navigation registration schemes, including private, commercial, unpowered boats and any block registration agreements. Comments were requested by the end of August and are being considered in making the final decision on the charge increase for 2014/15.

‘We also advised Thames Navigation Users Forum members that we plan to invite customer representatives to work with us over the autumn/winter to develop a three year charging plan to run from 2016 – 2018.

" These proposals will then be considered within the Environment Agency and a consultation position recommended to the Board for wider consultation from July 2015."

Story dated August 20th 2014.