The Broads Authority was set up through the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act of Parliament in 1988.

It began operating as a Special Statutory Authority in 1989.

It is the duty of the Authority to manage the Broads for the purposes of: 

  • Conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Broads
  • Promoting opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Broads by the public
  • Protecting the interests of navigation.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988 (pdf document) [799kb] also documents the Authority's need to regard the needs of agriculture and forestry, and the economic and social interests of those who live or work in the Broads.

By creating a Special Statutory Authority the Government recognised the Broads needed the same protection as a national park but with the added responsibility for protecting and maintaining the waterways.

In 2006 the Broads Authority promoted a second Act, the primary purpose being to introduce greater safety controls on broads and rivers. The Broads Authority Act 2009 (pdf document) [234kb] received Royal Assent in July 2009.

In addition, a number of changes to the 1988 Act have been made by other legislation.