Boat numbers up -
but riverside licence evasion could be 50%







The number of boats registered for use on the non-tidal river increased according to the latest annual report from the Environment Agency..

But the agency admits the evasion rate for licences for riverside structures could be as high as 50%.

In the annual report about to be published, the EA says a total of 23,382 licences were issued for the year 2013-14 compared with 22,312 the previous year.

The number or private powered boats was down at 8,801 (compared with 9,010). But visitors showed a marked increase at 5,424 (3,958). Total revenue from boat licences was £3.9 million.

The report says findings of a river-wide survey of so-called accommodations – like jetties, pontoons and mooring piles - “suggest there is a 40-50% evasion rate. The majority of unlicensed structures are small landing stages and mooring piles which have a small annual charge.

“At this stage we cannot estimate how much new income we will receive. Although it is unlikely to be substantial it will be received annually and longer term will contribute to our financial sustainability.”

Other points from the report:

  • The enforcement team checked 8,000 boats of which 561 were found not to have licences.
  • A total of 3984 red ‘strong stream’ warnings were issued, and another 984 lesser, yellow warnings during the period the report covers - April 2013 - March 2014.
  • Capital projects on the river cost £2.9 million.

Waterways Manager Andrew Graham said: “With diminishing resources we still provided a high level of assisted passage on the lock side. We were able to do this by merit of the very valuable support given by our growing band of volunteers.

“Our enforcement team continue to develop new partnerships and approaches to ensure that more and more people comply with regulations and pay their way.

“We will continue to work hard to provide the best service we can with the resources available to us.”

Link to the full report will appear HERE shortly.

Story dated January 26th 2015