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News article created on 22 November 2013

Reforming business boat licensing: Consultation response

We've published a report setting out the outcome of the consultation on business boat licences. There will be modifications to many of our proposals to reflect the comments received during the consultation.

Chief executive, Richard Parry, said: “We’ve taken the time to listen to our customers and have significantly changed our proposals in light of this. The result is a revised set of prices with proposed changes to community boat fees shelved and holiday hire fee proposals substantially amended. I hope this decision will help support our valued community and business boating partners in the year ahead.”

The changes have been made as a result of listening to feedback from 113 respondents representing every kind of boating business from holiday hire sector to those running charity boats. The main changes, which take effect from 1 April 2014, are:

  • Community and charity boats – wholesale changes will not be implemented. Instead, licence fees for these craft will increase by 2.8% in common with the increases for private licence holders. We will now carry out further detailed work to address wider relationships with charitable and community organisations with a view to developing proposals for April 2015 by next autumn
  • Holiday Hire: the consultation proposals have been substantially amended. The current structure will be largely retained for 2014. The part of the fee that equates to the length of the boat has been increased by 2.8% in line with the increase that is being applied to private boat licences, whilst the remainder will be frozen. The result is increases of typically 1.5%
  • Day Hire: we are retaining a length-based licence fee for these boats rather than implementing the proposed seat-based fees it consulted upon. Following discussions during the post-consultation period, day hire rates will be set at a rate just above the cost of a private boat licence
  • Discounts: the 75% ‘without locks’ discount and the 25% Disconnected Waterway Discount will both be phased out in even steps by 2018
  • Skippered passenger boats: the proposed carrying capacity-based proposals will be adopted, with the key change that, as the effect on the boats carrying larger passenger numbers is quite significant in some cases, increases will be phased in by 2017. The pricing structure has also been simplified by presenting it in clear price-bands
  • Roving traders: instead of the two types of trader as proposed there will be just a single category of roving trader priced at the lower of the two price lists previously published
  • Annual increase: other than the changes noted above, there will be no additional annual business boating licence fee increases in April 2014

A full report on the outcomes of the consultation can be viewed at canalrivertrust.org.uk/completed-consultations.

Phil Spencer, head of business boating, said: “We’re very grateful to everyone who took the time to share their views with us and are looking forward to working with all of our business boating customers in the year ahead.”