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The consultants' (now there are two of them) methodology is out. OPLAC have fundamental objections to it and also to the Steering Group process. In particular:
We do not think the PLA are entitled to 33% of the value of the works (having only demanded 16.6% in their 2006 consultation).
We do not think 12% is a fair estimate of licence holders' costs.
We are unhappy with the arbitrary width bandings (we would have preferred actual width if width is to be used).
We believe the methodology breaches points in the legal opinion.
More soon, watch this space and an OPLAC mailing will go out to all members this week.
The PLA and consultants have reneged on the agreement for a public meeting to launch the methodology. So OPLAC will be organising one. The consultation period is 10 weeks.
The PLA are paying for an independent study with the aim of coming up with a fair method of determing licence fees, of reviewing them and of resolving disputes about them. It will also recommend a method of phasing in any increases it comes up with. OPLAC are on the Steering Group for this study. OPLAC currently estimate the report will go out to public consultation in September 2011.
New! the PLA, OPAC and RBOA have funded a barrister's opinion on questions about the 1968 Act and the PLA's powers. Read it here or here. At RBOA's request all parties agreed to be bound by the opinion for the purposes of the review. OPLAC clarified this to mean while the formula is being drafted, with the binding ending at the start of the public consultation.
For the minutes of the Steering Group meetings for the Study go here.
The 26th Oct 2010 letter to River Works licence holders, the issues list (in Excel and web format) and the terms of reference (pdf format) are below. Please look at our list of issues with comments in red here