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Broads Authority set to charge petrol and diesel users higher river tolls

PUBLISHED: 17:13 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:18 20 January 2020

An aerial image of a Broads sailing boat, taken by John Fielding from his microlight aircraft. Picture: John Fielding

An aerial image of a Broads sailing boat, taken by John Fielding from his microlight aircraft. Picture: John Fielding

John Fielding JohnFielding001@gmail.c

Charges for boaters on Norfolk’s waterways have risen, with fees for petrol and diesel-run crafts higher than unpowered, hybrid or electric vessels, the Broads Authority has said.

Charges for boaters on Norfolks waterways are set to rise, with fees for petrol and diesel-run crafts higher than unpowered, hybrid or electric vessels. Photo: Wendy KeeleyCharges for boaters on Norfolks waterways are set to rise, with fees for petrol and diesel-run crafts higher than unpowered, hybrid or electric vessels. Photo: Wendy Keeley

The Broads Authority (BA) raised the tolls, which are charged to all boat users who navigate the river network, from November 22, 2019.

And the BA's members agreed the raise, which would see £30,000 raised to instal pontoons on Peto's Marsh, at a meeting on Thursday, October 31.

John Packman, BA chief executive, told the navigation committee, on Thursday that the rise was agreed after members decided it would be cost effective to install the pontoons in one year.

But the increases will see a differentiation in fees for differently propelled crafts. Boaters travelling in diesel and petrol vessels will see their fees raised by 2.9pc, while users of unpowered, hybrid and electric boats will pay an extra 1pc.

Mr Packman said: "It was felt this would be a signal that in the future we will need to look at different boats.

"The BA's view is that climate change is an important issue and that we should do this."

But committee member Mike Barnes said: "I do believe in global warming - I believe it's happening.

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"There are a couple of things we need to take into account. The amount of carbon discharged into the atmosphere by diesel and petrol boats is really minimal."

He added: "I think it would be more appropriate to say that in 12 months time this is our intention, so people actually have the chance to do something about it.

"It's not the actual cost, it's the principle of communicating properly with the toll payers."

Mr Packman said information on the new tolls had been shared.

"We need to send a signal to boat owners that those with petrol and diesel engines will need to think differently," he said.

And Leslie Mogford, who was appointed by Great Yarmouth Borough added: "I'm not very happy about charging people more toll which is going into our pot."

Mr Mogford asked whether the money would be spent on actions to combat climate change, and said: "It is slightly dishonest to say that it's to do with global warming when we're pinching it and using it to do something else."

But Mr Packman said the rise would always have been a 2.8pc increase for all boat users, but the differentiation sent a message.

The tolls range from £27 to £271 depending on boat type and size.

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