Environment Agency decision on new boat area charges

The Environment Agency (EA) has announced that it will not be implementing charges based on boat area on any of the waterways. Current charging mechanisms for powered and unpowered craft will remain in place, with charges being increased by four per cent in 2022, four per cent in 2023, and two per cent in 2024.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) says it welcomes the outcome given that it had made clear that an opportunity had been missed to create a strategic and viable financial plan for EA waterways, and that no explanation had been given for the considerable regional pricing variations that were proposed.

The EA claims the revised approach provides a much improved and consistent charging framework and will help to secure the necessary funds to cover operating costs over the next three years. The final proposals have received approval from the Secretary of State for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs.

The changes will be implemented from January 2022 for the Thames Waterways and April 2022 for the Anglian Waterways and the Medway Navigation. The charging scheme will remain until it is reviewed, following monitoring over the three years of the charge plan.

The EA says it will work with stakeholders on each navigation to continue developing understanding of the waterways and to improve charging mechanisms for the future, using feedback from this consultation to inform those discussions.

“A significant number of RYA members who enjoy the inland waterways do so on EA navigations,” says Mel Hide, RYA director of external affairs. “We are pleased that our concerns have been listened to and welcome the final outcome. We look forward to a constructive relationship with the EA as it develops its plans for the future. Vibrant inland waterways are a vital part of our heritage and our physical and mental well-being.”

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