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  1. BOAT LICENCE FEES 2017

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    The Canal & River Trust is today announcing that private and business boat licence fees will rise by 2.5% from 1 April 2017. Having capped licence fees to inflation for the past three years, the 2017 increase anticipates next year’s prevailing inflation rate which is widely forecast to rise between now and next summer.

    The rise in licence fees will raise income to ensure that the Trust can continue to sustain the increased spend on waterway maintenance over recent years. This has seen an improvement in the structural condition of the waterways and a significant reduction in the amount of disruption experienced by boaters (with almost 300 days fewer of unplanned navigation closures compared with 2014/15).

    Mike Grimes, head of boating at Canal & River Trust, said: “Boaters are the backbone of our waterways and we know what a vital role they play. We also know that as a community they are as passionate about the future of our canals and support the rising volume of work that the Trust is able to fund.

    “Although the cost of a licence will be increasing slightly, I’m pleased to say that overall proportion of the Trust’s income coming directly from boaters is decreasing as we generate more income from other sources.”

    Over the past three years the Trust has spent considerably more on caring for the waterways, with the amount spent on maintenance and repair in 2015/16 rising to £128 million, over 15% higher than was expended in 2013/14. In the same period the proportion of income from boaters has reduced from 19.9% to 18.3% of total income.

    Mike continues: “The income from boat licences continues to make an important contribution to the work we do: looking after a 200-year old network is a never-ending task. I hope that boaters can see that we are investing in areas that make a difference to them. We’ve put extra cash into dredging and cutting back off-side trees over the past few years, as well as the massive and growing programme of major works we carry out every year to keep our canals and rivers safe and navigable.”

    The Trust is also announcing that, following feedback from boating customers and the boating volunteers who sit on its Navigation Advisory Group (Licensing and Mooring), it will be carrying out a wide-ranging review of the structure of boat licensing fees to help guide potential changes to the structure of licence fees from April 2018. There will be an extended period of engagement and consultation with boating organisations, boat clubs and societies. Individual boaters will also be given the chance to be heard to ensure that any proposals are based on a full understanding of the range of views from across the Trust’s wide range of boating customers. The Trust will announce more information and timelines for the consultation process in due course.

    Ends

    For further media requests please contact:
    Fran Read, national press officer, Canal & River Trust
    m 07796 610 427 e fran.read@canalrivertrust.org.uk

    Notes to editors:
    The licence increase is 1.5% above the current rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and 0.5% above the retail price index (RPI), and – with inflation widely predicted to rise sharply over the next six months – it is expected to be roughly in line with the prevailing inflation rate by the summer of 2017.

    --------------------------------------------
    Fran Read
    National Press Officer

    M 07796 610 427
    Canal & River Trust, Toll House, Delamere Terrace, London, W2 6ND
    Twitter: @CRTComms

  2. Canal & River Trust to improve customer support for boaters

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    Canal & River Trust to improve customer support for boaters

    From early 2017 the Canal & River Trust’s enforcement team will become its boat licence customer support team.  This reflects the team’s ongoing focus and share of the time they spend supporting customers to meet the terms of a boat licence to stay on the water.

    As Mike Grimes, head of boating at Canal & River Trust, explains:  “As part of the evolution of becoming a charity, we’re highlighting the emphasis we’re putting on supporting boaters.  That includes improving the ways in which we communicate and interact with boaters as well as being there to help facilitate the support that’s available from external agencies for those in need. 

    “For the vast majority of customers it’s about being there on the towpath or at the end of a phone to help them keep their licence rather than the minority where enforcement action is the unfortunate last resort.”

    Ends

    For further media requests please contact:

    Fran Read, national press officer, Canal & River Trust

    07796 610 427 fran.read@canalrivertrust.org.uk