Help us challenge the proposed increase in charges for EA permits

Thames Rivers Trust is concerned that the Environment Agency is proposing to increase charges for permits. This could severely damage the ability of Rivers Trusts and others to carry out work on projects to improve river habitats for wildlife and people.

The EA has published a consultation (open until the 26th January 2018) which proposes increases to the charges for permits to carry out habitat improvement work of the type rivers trusts, wildlife trusts and angling clubs have been doing for years.

We would encourage everyone to respond. The consultation and all supporting documents can be found via this link.
It’s quite a daunting document, however there are only one or two sections that are directly relevant. We have a draft response below, with six key points you may wish to use. Just copy and paste it into ‘section 8.1’. You will also need to fill out sections 8.3 and 8.4.

Suggested response

“I am writing to object to the scale of proposed increases for charges for permits to carry out habitat improvement works to improve the environment and habitat in rivers. Throughout this consultation there an assumption of commercial gain. There are many community groups, river trusts, angling organisations and wildlife groups who, with limited funds, are currently making a very real and important contribution towards improving rivers and streams for the benefit of the wider community. The improvements are all contributing to reaching Water Framework Directive targets to improve waterbodies across the country.”
Key points you could make include:
1. The proposed charges are extortionately high. Far too great to reasonably expect small organisations to pay up front, especially for small scale community based work relying on charitable funding.
2. The charges imply that there will be financial gain from river improvement – for the projects River Trusts and similar organisations work on this is not true – the benefit is to the wider ecology and society – and to meet Water Framework Directive objectives.
3. The charges effectively penalise people for doing the right thing.
4. The charges will deter anyone thinking about making improvements to their river from making any contact with the EA. This will mean that the expertise and advice available will not be accessed and poor quality un-consented works will result.
5. The current ‘exemptions’ are confusing but a constructive approach would be improve the rules defining exemptions to provide a simple route for the Environment Agency to consent low risk works.
6. A two tier charging system with lower rates for charities and works carried out for public benefit would be welcome.
Thank you for your support.

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