The charity making life better by water

National consultations

From time to time we have to make major decisions about how we look after our canals and rivers.

Although we are not bound by them, whenever we do publish formal national consultations we will often try to follow the Government's Consultation Principles.

Sometimes we want your feedback on a more local and informal level. You can check if there are any consultations happening in your area by visiting our regional pages.

Boat licence review

Following a consultation with boaters we are introducing changes to boat licence pricing from April 2024. Alongside growth in income from other commercial and fundraising activity, the changes will help support the long-term future of the 2,000 miles of waterways that we manage across England & Wales. 

Boat licence fees will need to rise above the baseline inflation rate for each of the next five years. In addition, we are introducing a surcharge for boats that continuously cruise and increasing the surcharges for wide beam boats to reflect the greater utility they receive.

The increases for all boat licence holders, and the new surcharges, will take effect from April 2024. Details will be announced in November using the latest inflation forecasts.

Table: Annual increase for boats without a home mooring and for wide beam boats between 1 April 2024 and 1 April 2028:

Licence Fees for 2024 to 2028

Separately from the main options, we also considered whether the various licence discounts currently offered are sustainable. From April 2024, there will be a reduction in the discounts for prompt payment and for paying online as this has become the standard method used by the vast majority of boaters. The electric boat, historic boat and charity boat discounts will be retained.

Consultation on a minimum standard for provision of customer service facilities

We have begun a review of the customer service facilities with the aim of agreeing a minimum standard that boaters should expect.

Water point facility

Phase one

The first phase of the CSF consultation has now concluded, and the results will be published in spring 2023. This phase consulted on,

  • What facilities should and should not be provided by the Trust
  • What the minimum cruising distance between facilities should be
  • What local factors should be taken into consideration in terms of where higher or lower demand would result in a variation from the minimum customer service facilities standard

Phase two (expected to take place in 2023)

The second phase will look at existing location specific facilities against the new minimum standard. We will then consider:

  • Where there are gaps below the minimum cruising distance standard and how these can be filled
  • Where there may be over provision that is excess to customer need
  • Where there are exceptions to the standard (i.e. higher demand or very low demand) and how we address these
  • Facilities that fall outside the minimum standard

Last Edited: 20 December 2023

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration