Today, we're letting boaters know changes we will be making to boat licensing following our consultation. The changes, to be phased in over five years from April 2019, aim to ensure the financial contribution made by boaters towards the cost of looking after the waterways is spread fairly across the boating community.
The headlines include the news that an additional charge, of up to 20%, will be levied on wider boats, to be phased in over the five years. There will be three pricing bands for boat width in addition to the existing bands for boat length, which remain unchanged.
Boaters who currently receive a prompt payment discount will see that retained but at a reduced discount and, from 2020, part of this discount will apply for those who manage their payments online (for example by credit/debit card or by direct debit).
With the exception of the discount for electric boating, which will be reviewed to see if it can more explicitly encourage greener boating, all other discounts available, including for historic boats, charity boats, and unpowered butties, will remain unchanged.
There will be no difference in licence fees for boats without a home mooring. Instead, we will be undertaking further work to develop a fair means of reflecting the benefits experienced by boaters without home moorings who remain in the most popular places like London.
Jon Horsfall, our interim head of boating said: "The current licencing system has remained largely unchanged for more than two decades and there have been many changes to the waterways, and to boating, in that time.
"There were over 11,000 submissions to the consultation and I’d like to thank each boater who took part. Ultimately, we’ve aimed to make sure the financial contribution made by boaters is spread as fairly as possible across the boating community.
"We are going to phase the full scope of the changes over a five-year period so that there is no sudden impact on any group of boaters.
"Also, to offset the reduction in the prompt payment discount,we are intending to freeze underlying licence fees for 2019, which will be confirmed later in the year when prevailing price inflation can be taken into account."
A summary of the changes is as follows:
No link between mooring status and licence fees, but a further review is planned to establish how the significant growth in some popular locations can be addressed.
More information and the consultation reports, can be found here: National Consultations.