The Inland Waterways Association understands the extraordinary economic climate that is affecting Canal & River Trust and appreciates the reasoning of a second increase (of 4%) within one year. IWA welcomes the confirmation that the Trust will support boaters who may be struggling to pay their boat licence fees on a case-by-case basis.
However, IWA regrets that this second increase in boat licence fees has been carried out without any consultation of users. IWA notes that CRT has only now decided to focus spending on only navigation and legal requirements.
IWA is well aware of the pressures and costs of running a navigation (IWA operates the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation through its subsidiary Essex Waterways Ltd) and makes extensive use of volunteers for ongoing maintenance and repairs. Through IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group, IWA is experienced in repairs to, and maintenance of, waterway heritage infrastructure. IWA believes CRT could make better use of volunteers across its whole network to carry out preventative maintenance and repair work.
IWA’s Chair Les Etheridge commented:
These are extraordinary times and it is understandable that CRT needs to take every action possible to support its waterways. It is regrettable that planned maintenance will be deferred by CRT. IWA and Waterway Recovery Group have already demonstrated to CRT that volunteers can carry out serious repairs and maintenance, and believe CRT has not taken full advantage of volunteers to support navigation.Les Etheridge