Floods: ‘a great income-stream’ for river charity

floodmooring invoices

An elite River-Warden delivers an urgent bill for overdue mooring fees on this detached house

Flooded-out residents of usually sleepy Oxfordshire town Henley-on-Thames  have received unexpected demands for mooring fees from the Canal & River Trust. “At first I thought this was just some cruel practical joke” said Deputy Mayor Jarvis Marten, whose mostly-submerged dormer bungalow is more often a good two streets away from the Thames, “but sadly not.”

Canal and River Trust  took over care of 2000 miles of historic waterways in 2012, when  stick-in-the-mud British Waterways with  its rather old-fashioned  values ceased to exist. Robert Pearce, the Trust’s Chief Executive explained the rationale for sending out invoices to house-owners.“Trustees of any registered charity have a legal duty to maximise their charity’s income, so when we spotted this potential income-stream we were on it like bankers on a bonus bond. Rivers can be slippery rascals you know. As soon as one of the little scamps escapes from its riverbed and even gently nuzzles a front doorstep, our satellite tracking system alerts the accounts department and an invoice is automatically generated. Simple, but elegant.”

The Trust’s charging regime is very much a matter of swings and roundabouts says  Pearce, with some people losing and others not winning. “Boat owners will get a refund on their existing mooring fees. Of course, we’ll  be fining them if their boats are then moored in the middle of the river rather than, say, on the riverbank where they should be. Fines are levied on a daily basis so, unless they have a second boat to ferry them out to the first one, it’ll be a big payday for us. ‘It’s an ill wind’ as they say!”

For his part, Cllr Marten slammed the Trust’s behaviour as insensitive and exploitative of vulnerable people, adding “But when the flood water goes down any boats stranded on dry land will be liable to council tax.”


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2 Responses to Floods: ‘a great income-stream’ for river charity

  1. I presume this is tongue in cheek as it’s the Environmental Agency that govern the Thames and nothing to with The Canal and River Trust