Scottish Canals publishes response to boating price consultation

No boater to pay more than £2 extra per week.

Scottish Canals today (14th February 2017) published its response to a public consultation setting out a long-term plan for establishing fair pricing for living and travelling on Scotland’s inland waterways.

Following a comprehensive consultation and independent review into the pricing strategy for moorings and licences on Scotland’s canals, no boater will pay more than an extra £100 per year – less than £2 per week – plus inflation.

As a direct response to customer feedback, Scottish Canals commissioned this consultation in October 2015. It followed increases in moorings and licence prices which took place in April 2015 as part of a wider drive to charge fair and reasonable rates for the products and services the organisation provides.

Respected consultants Gerald Eve and Bilfinger GVA worked with British Marine and the Royal Yachting Association of Scotland to publish their Pricing Review in July 2016. A week later, Scottish Canals launched a consultation into how Gerald Eve/GVA’s recommendations should be implemented. This consultation attracted 88 responses from 78 individuals and organisations, representing 17% of Scottish Canals’ mooring customers and 3% of all boating customers.

Following a detailed analysis of all the responses, Scottish Canals’ Board has agreed the following:

  • Gerald Eve/GVA’s methodology is robust, independent and reasonable and therefore will be adopted, along with their recommended prices
  • the annual inflationary uplift will be set in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), calculated monthly and averaged over the last financial year
  • all price increases less than £100 per year will be implemented in full, plus CPI
  • all price increases greater than £101 will be phased in so that no customer pays more than an extra £100 per year, plus CPI
  • customers can pay their moorings fees in full at the outset or by monthly instalments but the cost will remain the same however they choose to pay
  • standard Terms and Conditions will be applied to each customer group, e.g. residential boaters will be subject to the same T&Cs but these may differ to those applied to leisure customers
  • navigation charges will remain at 2015 prices, subject to an annual CPI uplift
  • transit charges will remain the same on the Caledonian and Crinan Canals but drop by 25% on the Lowlands Canals as a way of stimulating boat movements
  • registered charities that are not acting commercially will benefit from a 25% reduction in transit charges
  • subject to contractual renewal dates, all price changes will come into effect from 1st June 2017 and 1st April each year thereafter.
  • any customer facing a reduction in their mooring fees will see their prices reduced from 1st June 2017 regardless of when their contract is due for renewal

“As a public body, it’s only right that we adopt a fair and reasonable approach to pricing which benefits all our customers and not just the few who choose to live and spend their leisure time on the water of Scotland’s canals.

“With amenities and customer demand varying between locations and waterways, price inconsistencies have developed over the years leaving some boaters paying significantly more than their neighbours. We have listened to customers and today are committing to addressing these anomalies but limiting the increase to no more than an extra £100 per year – less than £2 per week.”

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals added: “This is a complex issue and one which all canal authorities are wrestling with. However, we believe we now have in place a fair, transparent and consistent approach to pricing which benefits boaters as well as Scotland’s canals. I’d like to thank all of our boating customers for their feedback and understanding during the review process.”

The comprehensive review saw consultants meet with boaters and organisations all over Scotland and visit every residential mooring site on the nation’s 137-mile canal network. As well as assessing the amenities, attractiveness, location and accesses of each leisure and residential site, the process also saw Gerald Eve and GVA compare the price of each residential mooring to the cost of an equivalent land-based, two-bedroom dwelling in the same area.

Their subsequent report proposed a methodology for setting the market price of all residential and leisure moorings and licences on Scotland’s canals, as well as a clear plan for implementing future price changes. Individuals and organisations who use, live or work on the nation’s waterways were invited to help decide how these recommendations should be implemented and over what timescale as part of a formal consultation process.

Scotland’s canals attract 22 million visits per year from walkers, cyclists, anglers, paddlers, residents and boaters. All income generated from the products and services Scottish Canals provide is reinvested in safeguarding the 200-year-old heritage assets for future generations to enjoy.

Full details of the review, consultation, and Scottish Canals’ response can be found at

Notes to Editors

About the pricing review

Scottish Canals increased prices for boats using Scotland’s inland waterways in April 2015 in order to bring leisure, residential and transit charges in line with market rates, become more financially sustainable, and charge fair and reasonable prices for the products and services which the organisation provides. This saw the cost of a navigation licence increase from £145 to £195; leisure mooring prices rise by between 3% and 9% and transit costs increase by between £1 and £12.30 per metre of boat depending on location.

The full Gerald Eve/GVA report can be viewed at

About Scottish Canals

Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel.

As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for 251 bridges, 212 buildings, 256 locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 19 water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day.

The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles.

The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22 million visitations per year.

For more information, visit or follow @ScottishCanals on Twitter

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