Brits heading to Cornwall this summer face £20 'stealth tax' due to new rules

BRITS opting for a Cornwall staycation this summer could be hit by a £20 "stealth tax" locals have warned.

Paddleboarding and kayaking, popular activities at seasides in the UK, could soon be hit by a new charge.

The harbour master who covers part of the River Fowey in Cornwall, will now charge £20 per craft, which includes kayaks and paddleboards, to use the water.

Paul Thomas told ITV that while he "felt like the bad guy" it was "not a tax on tourists" but was instead a way to to keep people using the harbour safe.

He added: "Nobody wants to pay, and I understand that but it's only right and proper that they all pay a little bit towards running this place and keeping it safe for everybody."

Anyone with a board or kayak will be given a QR code sticker, so that it can be used to track the owner if the board washes up without them.

A local paddleboarder has since set up a petition against the fees 0 Andrew Hall, 55, claimed it was "unfair" and that the river should be kept free to use.

He told the Telegraph: "As paddleboarders our environmental footprint is almost non-existent, we leave only ripples in our wake – no noise pollution, no diesel slips.

“It’s a cash grab to capitalise on the staycation boom."

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In his petition, he wrote: "The Fowey Harbour Authority in Cornwall is attempting to levy what is effectively a tax on river users, especially Stand up Paddlers and Kayakers to purportedly improve safety on the river and cover the cost of repatriating abandoned, discarded and lost craft.

"This is grossly unfair and is not only a seeming attempt to bolster revenues, but also reduce access to a key UK waterway to the general public that has enjoyed free use.

"The tax will apply to all locals and visitors who wish to use the river for leisure."

More than 1,000 people have since signed the petition.

Another paddleboarder, Samantha Brock, said ways to keep people safe were not to identify paddleboards, but to teach beginners about weather conditions and life jackets.

If you fancy a holiday to Cornwall this summer, you should probably book it now.

Visit Cornwall boss Malcom Bell warned anyone planning to visit the region may not have much choice unless they book sooner rather than later.

He told Sun Online Travel: "Half term [bookings are] looking good and summer is very good on bookings. 

"If you want to get what you want, book as early as possible.

We've rounded up the best beaches in Cornwall, including the best surfing spots and the best ones for dog-walkers.

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