Increase in tolls funds safety and navigation improvements
Ordinarily, the Authority’s navigation expenditure is sourced from the tolls paid by the 12,000 boat owners who use the Broads waterways.
In light of an increase in accidents last year and with safety a priority as we anticipate a very busy tourism season, members of the Authority agreed to fund a package of safety measures including on-line training videos for hirers and increased Ranger patrols of the waterways.
To maintain the existing level of service together with the new safety measures, an increase of 7% in tolls was required. The Authority requested from Defra to use the ‘National Park Grant’ reserves for safety initiatives and the Department authorised this exceptional one-off transfer. With that assistance the decision was taken to increase tolls by 4% in 2021.
This year £130,000 of National Park funding will be used to employ additional Rangers, produce new safety videos and a further £120,000 the following year to support the higher level of patrolling, which will be reviewed at the end of the 2022 season.
A new Senior Ranger is working on Compliance and Safety to follow up on prosecutions and compliance with the Boat Safety Scheme. This will free up time spent by Rangers preparing case files before the prosecution of speeding and failure to pay the appropriate toll offences. Four new Assistant Seasonal Rangers will maximise launch presence during the peak visitor season, allowing Rangers to help more new visitors.
In cooperation with the Broads Hire Boat Federation, the new safety videos are designed to help new hirers and new private boat owners get the most out of their time on the Broads. Hirers will be emailed a link to the videos before their holiday.
Each year, a small number of private boat owners delay payment of their tolls until a final letter threatening prosecution is received. For these individuals, a first and final letter will now be sent.
The 4% increase in tolls will see two-thirds of all private boat owners pay less than an extra £10 per year. A typical unpowered dingy will pay an extra £1.40 and a small motor boat an extra £2.80. A popular sized sailing boat (11 metre2) will pay an additional £3.74 and a large private motor boat (38 metre2) an extra £21.28.
The Broads Authority is the only major inland navigation authority normally entirely dependent on income from tolls to fund maintenance of the navigation.
The minutes from the Authority meeting where the tolls charges were agreed will be available shortly, and all updated toll charges for 2021/2022 will be available on our tolls table in due course.
Friday 22 January 2021