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Boaters call for voice on Broads

PUBLISHED: 16:20 19 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:47 20 February 2013

Boats on the River Yare at Reedham. 

Picture: James Bass

Boats on the River Yare at Reedham. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

The leading voice of Broads boaters is to lobby MPS to support its campaign for guaranteed tollpayers’ representation on the Broads Authority.

Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association (NSBA) is stepping up its fight after the latest tolls increase when the authority overruled the advice of its navigation committee to set a 1.5pc rise.

Instead, it imposed an average 3pc increase which will see owners of the biggest boats facing a tolls rise of nearly 10pc. Significantly, in the current economic climate, the average hire boat fleet will face an increase of more than 5pc.

NSBA chairman Richard Card said: “It has brought to a head the fact neither the NSBA nor the Broads Hire Boat Federation have any guaranteed representation on the authority.”

With the fall in national park grant, toll payers were providing nearly 50pc of the authority’s income, making the lack of a voice even more glaring.

The NSBA hopes to mobilise support from MPs in calling for the same kind of structure as the Canal and River Trust, responsible for 2000 miles of waterway, which has guaranteed representation for toll payers.

Prof Card has raised the issue with Lowestoft MP Peter Aldous who said: “It is a case they have every right to put.” He added it would make sense for him to look at it with other Broads MPs.

Authority chairman Stephen Johnson said: “The composition of the authority’s board is a matter for the Secretary of State at Defra taking account of the need to balance national and local interests. When new members are appointed they are expected to act in the best interest of the whole area.”

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