CRT announced on 6th March 2018 that it would not increase licence fees for boats without a home mooring. However there will be fee increases for widebeams and significant reductions in the prompt payment discount, which together will result in more liveaboard boaters struggling to pay the licence fee, more boats becoming unlicensed and more people losing their homes.
CRT’s report on the year-long consultation also stated that “a further review will be undertaken to establish how the significant growth in demand from boats without a home mooring in key locations can be addressed, to fairly reflect the benefit experienced by those boaters without a home mooring in London and other highly popular locations”. CRT stated that these ‘highly popular’ locations include Bath.
We have of course been here before. Between 2009 and 2014, BW and then CRT made considerable efforts to clear liveaboard boaters without home moorings from the western K&A by means of what began life as a “local mooring strategy” that was to have been a model for similar restrictions and persecution on many other parts of the waterways. You can read the whole story on this web site.
The announcement that the K&A local mooring strategy or Mooring Plan would only last for one year coincided with legal advice to CRT that led to the charity abandoning its proposed scheme for Roving Mooring Permits in the Cowley and Uxbridge areas of the Grand Union Canal in early 2014.
The opinion of CRT’s legal advisers was that applying different conditions in specific areas would not be lawful because if a service or benefit is not available to boaters throughout the CRT waterways, or if the service or benefit is denied to boaters in specific areas, the scheme would be unlawful. We believe that this is why the K&A mooring plan only lasted for an “interim” period of 12 months. Imposing different conditions on boaters without a home mooring in “highly popular locations” would fall foul of the same advice.
Licence fees for widebeams will increase by between 10% and 20% over 3 years, depending on the beam of the boat. Charging more for wider boats when so much of the network can only be used by narrowboats will make licensing more unfair, contrary to CRT’s stated aim at the start of the review.
The Prompt Payment Discount will be reduced from 10% to 5% or 2.5% depending on how you pay, with only those who licence their boats online using automatic payment methods being eligible for the 5% discount. This will inevitably disadvantage poorer and older boaters who don’t or can’t make online payments. When CRT announced the licence review it said that changes would be “cost neutral”. CRT’s “cost neutral” review has resulted in prices going up.
CRT’s reports on the licence review consultation can be downloaded here
The entire story of the K&A local mooring strategy is documented on this web site: