Rise in Broads boat tolls is approved

Broads Guide- Horning.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Broads Guide- Horning.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An increase in the tax boat owners pay on the Broads has passed with very little fuss.

Members of the Broads Authority yesterday agreed to increase tolls on the Norfolk and Suffolk waterways by 4.5pc, a hike from last year's 1.7pc rise. Originally the authority said a 6.2pc toll increase could be on the cards – the highest increase since 2008/9.

But that sparked anger in the hire-boat community and prompted a discussion over what impact the rise could have on tourism in the region.

The committee instead moved to lessen the impact on the multi-billion pound industry by agreeing a reduction in the multiplier from 2.6pc to 2.55pc, a historic arrangement for hire fleets to pay than the private fleet.

Paul Greasley, Broads Hire Boat Federation committee member and owner of Wroxham-based Norfolk Broads Direct, said he welcomed the reduced multiplier.

'The multiplier in everywhere else is far more likely to be about 1.5pc to 1.8pc, so why the Broads is 2.5pc I really don't know. This reduction is going in the right direction, it's got to be going in that downward spiral.'

The change means a toll increase of around 5.8pc for private craft and about 2.3pc for the hired cruisers.

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Chief executive John Packman said the increase is to pay for major work such as the Hickling Broad Enhancement Project and maintenance on Mutford Lock.

The removal of hazardous structures at Dickey Works has been dropped from the programme.

Member of the Broads Authority and chairman of the Wherry Yacht Charter Charitable, John Ash, said: 'The increase is in light of work that needs to be done for navigation and in light of survey results. While it looks like a large percentage it is small in monetary terms.'

What do you think about the decision? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk