No longer will there be widespread discrepancies in rent

Re-Union Canal Boats on the Union Canal
Re-Union Canal Boats on the Union Canal

For many years the pricing structure of residential moorings in Scotland seemed grossly unfair with boaters paying vastly different amounts despite staying in the same area.

This had occurred because over the last 30 or 40 years individual agreements were struck meaning new boaters faced paying today’s prices rather than ones agreed decades ago.

However, following an independent review into pricing structure and a public consultation over the review’s findings, Scottish Canals this week confirmed that “fair pricing for living and travelling on Scotland’s waterways” has now been established.

All lettings will be transferred to new licences and rents will be set by the proposed figures found in Gerald Eve and Bilfinger GVA’s review who engaged with British Marine and the Royal Yachting Assocation of Scotland to publish their pricing review in July 2016.

All price changes will come into effect from June 1, 2017.

Of course, that could mean quite a substantial increase for older agreements if they were forced to pay full price straight away.

However, Scottish Canals will phase in the price changes and have said no boater will pay more than an extra £100 a year plus inflation until the current rate set by the independent review is met. In Linlithgow that cost is £2800 per annum on a three-year agreement.

Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Canals, said: “As a public body, it’s right that we adopt a fair and reasonable approach to pricing.

“With amenities and customer demand varying between locations and waterways, price inconsistencies over charges have emerged over the years leaving some boaters paying significantly less or 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.”

Boaters had become concerned with how pricing structures had been set in the past particularly auctions which was created under the Living on Water initiative, so Scottish Canals commissioned a consultation in October 2015 after prices increases in April that year.

Gerald Eve and Bilfinger GVA looked at number of different factors into their pricing review including the cost of rent for a two-bed flat for a month in that location, the facilities at each mooring, the level of demand and a sense check - if a number of boaters had agreed to pay same rate at same location.

They published their review in July 2016 and Scottish Canals launched a consultation a week later looking into how their recommendations could be implemented. This consultation attracted 88 responses from 78 individuals and organisations, representing 17 per cent of Scottish Canals’ mooring customers and 3 per cent of all boating customers.

Mr Dunlop 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 all boaters.”