THE Inland Waterways Association is disappointed by the response from Environment Agency to its consultation on 2018/19 Navigation Charges and is calling for clear progress on the activity based costing of the Navigation Service before any further steps are taken to increase fees.
IWA disagreed with EA’s proposal to differentiate its registration charges between its three waterway management areas. It believes the level of increase should be Consumer Price Index across the board, because in all likelihood anything above will be expropriated by government thus further reducing EA’s funding.
IWA wants EA to continue its work on establishing a sound cost base for navigation services based on work carried out to support other activities, such as flood defence, which share and require the performance of assets that have been moved into the Navigation Services area. EA also needs to pursue Defra for Grant in Aid to fund any asset investment needed to raise the condition of these structures, to carry out their joint function safely and reliably.
Moreover, IWA continues to be a supporter of the proposed transfer of EA navigations to the Canal & River Trust, together with a suitable investment programme to bring necessary assets up to a sustainable ‘steady state’ condition. IWA believes this remains a better solution than the present situation, where Government is pushing EA to engage in asset stripping on Defra’s behalf, and failing to meet its legal obligations as a navigation authority.
IWA is keen to see something done before a catastrophic asset failure leads to lives being lost.