The Royal Yachting Association has responded to an Environmental Agency consultation that is seeking views on boat registration charges along its extensive inland waterways. The consultation ‘Boat registration charges proposals from 01 January 2022’ opened in June and closes later this week.

The consultation from the EA proposes a revised boat registration charging framework and a new three-year charging plan for 2022 to 2024. Any changes to boat registration would affect its three main waterway areas: the non-tidal Thames, the Upper Medway, and Anglian waterways (Rivers Great Ouse, Nene, Stour, Ancholme, Welland and Glen).

Following a full review of the proposed changes by the RYA’s Inland Navigation Panel, the RYA has responded to the consultation setting out its key concerns.

The RYA believes that the EA consultation has missed an opportunity to create a strategic and viable financial plan for the EA waterways. Detail regarding the level of increase in charges requires clarity, it is not explained why there is a 0% increase in year three of the charging plan given that there will still be a funding shortfall at the end of year three.

The RYA’s response also identifies that there is a lack of explanation as to why there are considerable regional variations, how recreational boaters who are expected to contribute to the navigation service will benefit, or even what levels of service they can expect to benefit from.

The RYA has no confidence that the proposals will deliver any benefit for recreational boaters or how the changes would be fairer as is claimed in the consultation document. As such, the RYA has responded to the EA to make it clear that it cannot endorse what it considers to be a sub-optimised solution.

Howard Pridding, Director of External Affairs, commented: “A significant number of RYA members who enjoy the inland waterways do so on EA navigations. Our concerns for the proposed charges range from the inconsistencies in costs dependent on location, the lack of financial feasibility of the proposals, as well lack of incentives for electric propulsion. The RYA is also concerned about the time scale afforded to a full and proper review of the consultation feedback bearing in mind the implementation date for the proposed charges is 01 January 2022.”

To have your say on the proposals for boat registration charges on the EA’s waterways please click here.

The consultation closes at 11:59pm on 16 September 2021.

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