The Canal & River Trust is extending all boat licences by one month in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The situation will be assessed again in a month’s time when a further view will be taken about the extent and likely timescales around the coronavirus disruption on boating.
All boat licences that are due to expire at the end of April will be extended by one month to run until the end of May. All other current boat licences will be similarly extended by a month from their current expiry date.
With the crisis affecting the Trust’s income and funds available to look after the network, it is asking those able to afford it to ‘donate’ the extra month’s licence fee back to the Trust – using the ‘donate’ button on the charity’s website.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, comments: “We are living through unprecedented times and I know that many of our boating customers will be very anxious about the virus and the impact it is having on all our lives.
“The Trust is acutely aware that the impact on boaters – whether living aboard and remaining on the boat for long periods, or a leisure boater who can’t access their boat or use the network – is very disruptive.
“Whilst we’ve cut back activity on the network in line with government advice, we’re working to keep it available and safe and to be ready to bring it back to life when the crisis passes, and boating can resume again.
“In the meantime, we have been doing a range of things to assist boaters during the pandemic; supporting those who are most vulnerable, in high-risk groups or suffering financial hardship and providing assistance to the many boating businesses whose incomes have been so affected by the crisis.
“The Trust is facing significant financial challenges of our own, so whilst we’d invite those who can afford it to ‘donate’ their extra month licence fee back to the Trust, I hope the licence extension reflects our recognition of the restrictions that all boaters are suffering during these unprecedented times.”
The full message from Richard Parry, sent to recipients of the Trust’s Boaters Update, is available online.