Tolls increase funds navigation improvements on the Broads

The Broads Authority has agreed a 2.6% increase for tolls in 2019 for all categories of hire and private boats following consultation with the Tolls Review Group and the Navigation Committee.

The increase is expected to generate (in total) an income of £3.44m to maintain the existing level of navigation maintenance and carry out essential maintenance work. It will also fund the installation of electric charging points at the Acle Bridge 24 hour moorings.

The annual increase amounts to an extra £1.10 for the smallest private craft, £43.68 for the largest hired motor craft (56 square meters) and £99.96 for the largest passenger boat (98 square meters) on the Broads.

A proportion of last year’s tolls income was used to purchase additional safety signs and new equipment for riverside tree and scrub management. Electronic speed signs have been deployed in four locations where they have been effective in reducing reported incidents of speeding.

Tree Shears, which are large mechanical scissors capable of cutting down and chopping up trees on the riverbank were brought into operation this month at Paddy’s Dyke at the top of Barton Broad. The shears are affixed to a 16 tonne, 360 excavator and are floated on a pontoon raft to allow access to difficult to reach riverbanks.

Mechanising the felling of large trees and vegetation along the riverbank reduces the risk of qualified staff with chainsaws operating in wet and slippery conditions. It also allows large areas of scrub to be cleared quickly, giving staff more time for other navigational works.

Tree shears in action

When the shears are not needed for bankside management tasks the cutting blade can be removed and the unit used as a large mechanical grab, suitable for removing obstructions within the navigation like sunken craft or large fallen tree limbs.

Haydn Thirtle, Chair of the Broads Authority, said:

"The Broads Authority is entirely dependent on the income from boat owners to fund the costs of maintaining the navigation area in the Broads National Park. It is the only major navigation authority in the UK that does not regularly receive central funding for this role. As well as maintaining our levels of work such as dredging and maintaining moorings it allows us to invest in more efficient ways of doing some difficult work.

"Riverside trees and bankside vegetation management is an important area of work carried out by the Broads Authority, to improve visibility at river bends and cut back vegetation overhanging the waterway.

“The tree shears are an excellent addition to the Broads Authority ‘tool kit’. They will allow us to manage 4km of bankside vegetation this winter and will help us remove fallen trees that occasionally block the navigation”

Friday 23 November 2018