British Waterways now Canal and River Trust totally out of control on fee increases.

Author: Graham Mann, Water Audit Expert.

Guess What?
Is your business next to a River, Canal or waterway and does the rainwater that falls onto your property flow into any of these water courses managed by the Canal and River Trust? Do you have permission in the form of a licence agreement (which you should have by law) then your business will receive a letter telling you what the discharge fee is going to be increased by.

Now here is the best bit.  You may think of an RPI increase or an above inflation increase?  Think again, expect an increase of 100% to 1,000% or more! Oh yes this charitable company is totally out of control when it comes to fees. There is more, if you don’t like it there is virtually nothing you can do about it.

If you write to them, here are some of the comments you are likely to receive.

“The argument that your client will pay more than the annual increase is irrelevant. In this instance your client has had the benefit of paying much less than the market rate for it’s drainage for some considerable time”

Two choices exist 1) Agree the charges proposed or 2) Cease draining into the waterway and block your pipes up.

The Canal and River Trust consider any discharge into their waterways to be a “privilege” and that “The Trust do not have to accept this water and may opt to terminate the agreement themselves”
In this instance the customer would have to “Block up the discharge pipe at its own expense”

Who’s water is it anyway? Well in fact it belongs to you and me.

The attitude if you don’t like the substantial fee increases put the water down the drain instead will have a major consequence for our drainage systems. This will cause more flooding issues as the drainage systems cannot cope, how irresponsible is that.

This whole fiasco seems to be a caused by periods of reduced government funding.

Now is the time that the Canal and River Trust need to be regulated, they are quoting so called market rates for the discharge of rainwater to water courses. These market rates coming out of the trust Midlands office are being compared to charges levied by local water companies covering the Midlands area. Such companies as Severn Trent Water and South Staffordshire Water who base their charges on a site area banding calculation. For example: –

The customer is paying £2,500 now, if they were discharging to Severn Trent Water system then they would be paying £6,584 per annum.  “Therefore we perceive that the charge of £5,100 per annum is more than fair and reasonable in the current market price”

In this current market climate there is no justification for 100% or 1,000% increases. Even when customer contracts clearly state an RPI % increase the Canal and River Trust do not honour the agreements. Clearly the Canal and River Trust really need stringent regulation and a lesson in professional business practise. I shall be calling on Senior Government Ministers take up these issues and will be pressing our points home for change.

If your company is sited near a water course and discharges either rainwater or treated waste and charged accordingly I would like to hear from you. Or indeed have received notification of substantial increases in charges as without support these will be no change and your company will pay dearly.

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