Where's the interest now?

Published: Thursday, 16 August 2018

MOST of you will remember the support by those at the Inland Waterways Association for Canal & River Trust to take over the Environmental Agency waterways.

The association told that it could look after its EA members better if it was all under one 'umbrella', but really, it is not doing very well at looking after such members at the moment.

Up 7—10%

The agency is upping its boat licence fees by a whopping 7—10% depending on the waterway concerned, but what is worse informs its boating customers that this will be year on year for at least the next four years.

Yet searching the IWA website, there is no condemnation whatsoever, even though it has branches, and of course members, along the EA waterways.  Does it care?

Searching the National Association of Boat Owners website too, reveals no complaint about the large hike in EA licence fees, though surely it must have members on those waterways.  The Residential Boat Owners Association does tell of the increase in boat licence fees, but does not condemn, simply asks for members' views.

National Bargee Travellers Association

But there is one association that is concerned about its members on the EA waters—the National Bargee Travellers Association, that came out fighting, exclaiming that it opposes all boat registration and licence fee increases except those genuinely in line with inflation.

It tells that if these increases are implemented they will result in more boat dwellers struggling to pay the registration fee, more boats becoming unregistered and more people losing their homes.

Not mentioned

Liveaboards are not even mentioned in the consultation, the EA not considering the impact of the steep increases on people whose boats are their homes, with the NBTA stating that boat dwellers will suffer the greatest negative impact of these proposed fee increases, because they depend on the waterways for their home and unlike a leisure boater cannot simply decide to give up a hobby.

It adds that the fee rises will have a disproportionate adverse impact on the most vulnerable boat dwellers, putting them at greater risk of losing their homes through an inability to pay the higher registration fees, as the majority of boat dwellers are working people on low incomes and retired people on modest, fixed incomes.