Jon Horsfall, our head of customer service support, said: “As our navigations and their associated historic infrastructure become older, and the changing climate brings the more extreme weather we've seen in recent years, we need to spend more money to care for them and keep them in working order.
Income from private boat licences accounted for around 10% of our annual income last year and helps ensure that we can carry out the vast amount of work necessary for keeping the waterways available to boaters.
“This year we've seen the added impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused a 10% reduction in our income. We acted quickly to support leisure boaters and businesses with concessions on licence fees, giving specific additional support for boaters and businesses with additional needs.
"We continue to keep our licence price increases broadly in line with inflation forecasts and shield boaters from a more substantial contribution to the full costs of looking after the more than 200-year old network.”
From April 2021 the Trust will continue the phased introduction of additional pricing bands for boat widths over 2.16m (7ft 1”). This means that licence fees for boats over 2.16m wide will be subject to an additional 5% in addition to the 2% annual rise from 1 April 2021.
Jon continued: “The changes we announced to the structure of licence fees in 2018, following our national consultation, will ensure that the financial contribution made by boaters towards the cost of looking after the waterways is spread fairly across the boating community. We have staggered the changes for wider vessels over a five-year period from 1 April 2020 so there's no sudden impact on any boaters.”