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Cam boaters' anger over 'ridiculous' licence charges

The Cam Conservancy has announced major changes in boat licence conditions – along with large increases of up to 21.5% in annual licence fees. 

Local boaters have reacted furiously to the news, said Camboaters representative Amy Tillson. “We will be approaching the local MP, Julian Huppert, and to central Government if necessary. Unlike the new Canal & River Trust or the Environment Agency, the Conservancy is a Parliamentary body accountable only to central Government. 

“We will also be investigating the possibility of getting the Cam Conservators amalgamated in the Canals and Rivers Trust in 2015 when the EA may be also incorporated.”

“Currently, boaters can use the Cam Con waters if they buy an EA licence, under an 'Interchange Agreement'. Most boats choose to do this, except for the 25% who buy a Cam only licence from the Cam Conservancy.

“However, from 2012, the Interchange Agreement is changing dramatically. For boats who moor on the Cam, buying an EA licence will no longer be an option. All boats moored on the Cam will have to buy a CamCon-EA licence which will be 110% of the relevant EA licence for their length, effectively 17% more than a current EA licence because of the EA's 6.4% (CPI+2%) fee increase this year. This means that for the 25% of boats who currently have a Cam-Con licence, their fees will effectively increase by an extraordinary 21.5%.”

Boaters on EA waters will thus have the option of:

1)  An EA licence which does not allow access to the Cam, 
2)  An EA-Cam licence, at 110% of the relevant EA licence for their boat length, 
3)  A visitor licence at 15% of the relevant EA licence,

However, a boat caught on the Cam without a licence will be obliged to pay for a visitor licence at a punitive 25% of the relevant EA licence. 

Boats with the universal EA/BW ‘Gold’ licence will have to opt for an additional visitor licence for the Cam, as the Gold licence will no longer cover Cam Con waters. However, the Conservators are discussing 'trade plates' which will allow visiting boats to come to the Cam for services such as slippage and repair work. 

Details of new Interchange Agreement are on http://www.camconservators.co.uk/pdf/Note-7b-12-01-12.pdf 

The conservators are also taking on an additional warden in the summer months whose job will partly be to monitor boat movement and enforce licensing. 

Saturday 14 January  | Andrew Denny  | 3.35pm, Saturday 14 January 2012

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