Changes to boat tolls on the Broads are approved

Yare House on Thorpe Road, Norwich which is home to the Broads Authority.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Yare House on Thorpe Road, Norwich which is home to the Broads Authority.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A major shake-up in how tolls are calculated for boats on the Broads is set to go ahead after members of the Broads Authority gave the green light for the plans.

The proposals that went before the Broads Authority today were the result of a year of research by a tolls working group. They will see a move away from the current tolls system, which uses both a variable and fixed cost, and instead there will be one charge based on the size of the craft. Under the new system small boats are expected to pay less but bigger vessels are expected to see their cost rise. The tolls charged will depend on if boats are private or commerical. The eight traditional wherries will pay a flat rate, as will rowing boats, kayaks and canoes. The majority of boats will be divided into various categories and will pay a fixed amount per square metre.

Ahead of the decision being made, Louis Baugh, from the tolls working group, said what was proposed was 'fairer, simpler and more flexible.'

John Ash said with any change there would be winners and losers, but said: 'Whatever we decide must be for the best of the Broads and the users [of the Broads] overall.'

Bill Dickson said: 'I absolutely believe that we are doing the right thing here by doing away with a system that clobbers the small boat owners in favour of larger boats.'

Haydn Thirtle said he fully accepted the need to change the toll system but that he thought there should be a phased introduction to the changes.

Matthew Bradbury said he thought it was a 'pragmatic and balanced proposal' for what was a 'complex and emotive issue.'

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Victor Thomson said it was important to provide 'value for money,' especially with moorings and waste issues.

Concerns were raised by a number of members about about toll charges for passenger boats which have a valuable role in providing access to the Broads, and members agreed to give Broads Authority chief executive John Packman delegated powers to consult further with the tolls working group about passenger boat tolls and to fix the charges for passenger boats and hire boats.

It was agreed there should be an evaluation in autumn 2019 of the impact of the toll changes.

• See Tuesday's paper for more reaction.

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