Boat licence fees frozen but prompt payment reduced

Published: Wednesday, 07 November 2018

THE Canal & River Trust is today confirming that headline private and business boat licence fees will be frozen for 2019 and will remain at current prices until 1st April 2020.

As previously announced, following the Trust’s national boat licence consultation, which concluded in March, several changes will be taking place over five years starting from 1st April 2019.

Prompt payment discount reduced

However, though the prompt payment discount will be retained it will be reduced to 5% from 10% after 1st April 2019. This is the only change made to licence fees for 2019.

From 2020, part of this discount (2.5%) will apply for those who manage their payments online (for example by credit/debit card or by direct debit). This means that boaters who may not be able to afford to pay the licence fee in one lump sum will also be able to benefit from a discount.

Broad beams will pay more

There has alway been conflict that broad beams only pay by length, that seems unfair to many narrowboat owners, but this is now to be addressed for in addition to length-based pricing, from April 2020 two additional pricing bands for boat widths between 2.16 and 3.24m (7ft 1” to 10ft 7¾”) and those over 3.24m width (10ft 7¾”) will be introduced.

Jon Horsfall, Head of Customer Service Support at Canal & River Trust, commented:

“Income from 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 needed to keep the waterways available to boaters.

“The changes we’re making to boat licensing are intended to ensure the financial contribution made by boaters towards the cost of looking after the waterways is spread fairly across the boating community. We’re staggering the changes we announced in March over a five-year period so there’s no sudden impact on any boaters, and we’re keeping headline licence fees frozen for the next year which will help offset the reduction in the prompt payment discount from 10% to 5% for those who pay their full licence fee upfront.”