Members approve biggest shake up in tolls for more than three decades

Members today approved the biggest shake up in Broads tolls for more than three decades in a bid to more fairly link charges to vessel size.

The Broads Authority met to debate the recommendations of the Tolls Review Group for a  ‘straight line relationship’ directly between size of vessel by square metre and toll charge.

It means that smaller boats will pay less than previously and bigger boats more but Louis Baugh, Broads Authority and Tolls Review Group member said it was designed to make the system “fairer, simpler and more flexible”.

The proposal, with amendments recommended by the Navigation Committee to not increase the charge for Mutford Lock and to retain lower tolls for electric boats, was carried by 15 votes in favour with one against and two abstentions.

The total income from the hire boat and private boat collective fleets will remain in the same proportion as currently.

But after some debate about the value of passenger boats there was an additional proposal by members which was approved by 17 votes to one. This gives the Chief Executive delegated powers to consult with the Tolls Review Group to review and set passenger boat charges with any necessary redistribution of charges made within the commercial fleet.

The recommendations of the Tolls Review Group, made up of seven Authority members, five of whom are also Navigation Committee members and toll payers representing both commercial and private boating interests, came after a year of research and analysis.

Members also anticipate that the proposed new system will boost entry level boating which has been in decline while numbers of larger vessels have increased.

However it was also resolved by 16 votes to one against with one abstention that the Authority undertake an evaluation of the impact of the changes to the tolls structure in the autumn of 2019 as part of a second round of stakeholder research.

Friday 18 November 2016