In November 2009 BW published a short consultation paper on proposals for changes to boat licence fees for 2010. There were 57 responses to the invitation for feedback, including 14 from organisations representing boat licence holders. Based on this feedback, decisions have now been made on changes to boat licence fees and the payment process.
- To encourage boating customers to pay by debit card or direct debit payments, which carry much lower transaction fees, from August 2010 a fixed charge of £7.50 will be introduced on payments for licences and mooring permits settled by credit card. The charge will only apply to payments by credit card, not debit cards.
- From 2011, the Waterway Explorer Licence will be available only when purchased using the online system or by telephone to our national customer service team. This decision replaces the proposal to withdraw the Explorer Licence altogether but ensures that the enforcement process remains cost-effective.
- From August 2010 an across-the-board increase in all licence fees of 1% will take effect. This change replaces the proposal to reduce the size of the prompt payment discount which was decided to be unfair to those customers who pay on time. The prompt payment discount will therefore remain at 10%.
- BW will continue to develop significant cost savings from use of the internet for transactions with customers and publishing information. Money saved in this way means more for maintenance and repairs to the waterways. However, BW will continue to maintain alternative methods for people for whom the internet remains inconvenient or unavailable. We are now consulting with boat clubs and local licensing agents over a new method of reward for their continuing support of licence enforcement, in an environment where renewals are conducted online.
“When the financial climate was more stable, BW was able to offer longer term certainty over the level of licence fees. It is our sincere hope that more secure funding for the waterways will emerge from the proposed move to the third sector, helping us in time to return to more predictable licence prices.”