Environment Agency navigation fees are to increase by 2.5 per cent next year.

The Environment Agency has raised annual navigation charges in line with inflation.

Despite plans to increase the 2002/3 fees above inflation, the rise was held at a rate of 2.5 per cent for the third year in a row. The move is said to recognise boaters’ concerns over the restricted access to Britain’s rivers and waterways that followed last year’s flooding and this year’s Foot and Mouth outbreaks.

The Agency’s 875km of rivers in England and Wales have been used by 32,000 licensed craft in the past year.