Thursday, 12 January 2012

River Cam - License fee upheaval

Currently, boaters can use the Cam Con water if they buy an Environment Agency (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 April 2012, the Interchange Agreement is changing dramatically. This morning there was a meeting of the Cam Conservators which I attended on behalf of Camboaters, and despite arguing our case the following was passed:

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%.

For those moored on the EA waters or elsewhere, they have the option of
1) an EA licence which does not allow access to the Cam,
2) an EA-CamCon licence, at 110% of the relevant EA licence for their boat length,
3) a visitor licence at 15% of the relevant EA licence,
4) if they are found to be on the Cam without a licence, they will be obliged to pay for a visitor licence at 25% of the relevant EA licence.
As it stands, Gold licence holders will have to opt for an additional visitor licence for the Cam, as the Gold licence will not cover Cam Con water. the concept of 'trade plates' is being discussed to allow visiting boats to come to the Cam for services such as slippage and repair work.

Details of new Interchange Agreement:

In terms of enforcement, they are taking on an additional warden in the summer months whose job will partly be to monitor boat movement and enforce licensing. How effective this will be remains to be seen but the Cam Con do not have a good record for enforcement.

This is going to have a huge impact on numbers of boats visiting the area as most will probably choose to go elsewhere. Camboaters is furious at this huge increase in licence fees and are taking the matter to the local MP, Julian Huppert and eventually perhaps to central Government. The Conservancy is a Parliamentary body and as such is accountable only to central Government. Camboaters will also be investigating the possibility of getting the Cam Con amalgamated in the Canals and Rivers Trust in 2015 when the EA may be also incorporated.

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  1. Hi Amy
    We will be in your waters again this summer, along with Seyella, RocknRoll and Matilda Rose. If I understand the gist of your post we will be required to pay 15% of the relevant EA licence as a visitor. By 'relevant' I think that relates to the boat length so I get to pay 15% of £1179 to visit the Cam...£176.85.
    Am I right?

  2. Hi Amy
    Lesley has beaten me to it! I was intending to ask you about fees for visiting boaters to the Cam, now I'll wait with eager anticipation for your reply!
    BTW, enjoy the blog, been following since you first bought Lucky Duck...
    Cheers, Geoff

  3. Hi both

    How long is your boat, Lesley? If I remember correctly it is full length, so the relevant EA licence would be £865 (6.4% increase on this year's figures). 15% of that is £129.

    I think that's right.

    Geoff, are you planning a visit too?


  4. The only sensible solution to this continuing and totally unnecessary saga is to petition Central Government for the Enviroment Agency to assume all responsibility for the waters previously administered by The Cam Conservancy, which must be abolished in it's entirety.

    This will remove at a stroke the incredibly expensive tier of bureaucracy that is the source of this ridiculous, unjust, tax on the boating community.

    I am not prepared to pay another 17% per year so the River Foreman's wife can have a nice new kitchen!!!!!!

  5. Boycott the CamCon fee. Get everyone in Camboaters to refuse to pay - make the biggest stink possible!