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Boaters fined for no EA licence, CRT issues compliance figures

The difference between Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust boat licensing was highlighted in early May, after a Cambridge court fined six EA Anglian region boaters £4,300 for not paying their boat registration fees. EA says that nationally it has recovered over £100,000 for the first four months of this year. 

At the same time, CRT simply announced the results of its annual national boat count and total licence arrears. The CRT boat count showed that licence compliance in the year to end-March was 96.5%, slightly down on the previous year. But it's the tenth year in succession that licence compliance has been above 95%.

The CRT count also shows changes in boat numbers. There has been a 2.3% increase in boat numbers, with all regions except the North West seeing small increases. London & South East was the only region where licence compliance was under 95% (at 94.1%). Boat licences contribute around 10% of the trust's total income.

Despite CRT not having powers to fine for licence evasion, it insists it is not lax compared to EA and its ultimate sanction is to remove the boat from the water, and if necessary, sell it.

“In 2018/19, 106 boats were removed as they were unlicensed or in breach of our terms and conditions,” said John Horsfall, CRT head of customer service.

The two figures are gathered in different ways: CRT data collectors walk the towpath while EA officials rely much more on launches on their harder-to-patrol rivers.

Tuesday 21 May  | Andrew Denny  | 3.39pm, Tuesday 21 May 2019

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