Archive for September, 2020

September 29, 2020

Fallen trees restricting navigation and footpath closures – 29 September 2020

Following high winds over the weekend there are a number of trees which have fallen down and are restricting the navigation:

  • River Bure between Coltishall and Horstead – Numerous trees are down along the Wroxham to Coltishall reach restricting navigation. Our Ranger teams are working today to clear them. Please navigate with care.
  • River Bure downstream of Wroxham – several trees are partially restricting navigation. These have been marked and will be dealt with as soon as possible. Please navigate with care.
  • River Ant and River Yare – several trees partially restricting navigation. Will be marked and dealt with as soon as possible. Please navigate with care.
  • Hoveton Viaduct boardwalk and Barton boardwalk – both closed due to dangerous trees. We will advise when these are safe to re-open.
  • How Hill estate and nature trail – multiple path closures due to several dangerous trees.

Our Rangers are working to deal with these obstructions as soon as possible and get the navigation clear again.

Please navigate with caution, give plenty of space to obstructions and remain vigilant regarding dangerous trees and other debris if you are on the water or walking/cycling today.

If you have noticed any additional issues regarding the navigation please report these to Broads Control by calling 01603 756056 or emailing

Thank you for your assistance.

September 26, 2020

Bridge update from the Broads Authority

August 27, 20201

Broads Authority Statement

The below statement has been issued by the Broads Authority regarding closures and repairs to bridges in the Norfolk and Suffolk area.

Acle Bridge

After several months of work and delays with our contractors due to lockdown, the moorings and path at our Acle Bridge site are now open for use. The toilets, car park and café remain closed, and waste bins are currently being provided. Please note and adhere to the temporary signage and fencing in place at the site. During autumn, we will seed a large area of riverside grass and install more permanent fencing to improve the appearance of the site, until then the site is predominantly open for moorings and basic access to the footpath.

 Acle Bridge moorings with temporary fencing in place. Photo credit: Broads Authority

Reedham & Somerleyton Bridges

These two Victorian Swing Bridges are owned and operated by Network Rail. The summer heat always brings issue to their operational ability when the air temperatures rises to above 26 degrees. As the temperatures rises the cast iron structures expand, jamming the opening mechanism in place. Reedham Swing Bridge is positioned as such that it can be cooled by the prevailing wind/breeze and this swing bridge suffers less through heat expansion. This year Somerleyton air temperature reached 41 degrees.

Network Rail have carried out extensive maintenance to these structures, new sensors have been fitted to make the operating tolerances less, meaning better opening and closing. Short expansion rails are fitted to allow the track to expand in higher temperatures but still allowing bridge openings. And during the hottest days a full Network Rail Structural Team were brought in to observe the bridges as they expanded so that design aspects can be fitted to counteract this and bring better operational performance. It is hoped that this design work will be completed soon and a scheduled devised to retro fit this to the structures.

Lastly, these old bridges do suffer occasionally from mechanical issues, but these are decreasing as we have been able to negotiate better response times from Network Rail. Although one of the bridge failures was due to ECU boxes (fitted on the track to upgrade the signals system) melting in the summer heat. NR took this issue up with their contractors to rectify.

Closure of the rail bridge at Mutford Lock

Mutford lock is a Broads Authority structure and has been fully operational throughout summer, apart from a days when we undertook repairs to coincide with repair to the Road Bridge.

Oulton Broad Rail Bridge has had structural issues, again this rail swing bridge is operated by Network Rail, Due to a issue with the lowering rams and locking pins being damaged, Network Rail needed to fabricate new parts from scratch as ‘off the shelf’ parts are not available for this bridge. These parts and getting them fixed took a few weeks. Upon having the new parts fitted, NR Engineers found that the bridge did not lock shut in the correct alignment. It is currently operational but NR need 24 hour notice of an opening so the Engineers can be on site to facilitate the opening and closing. This will continue until a fix for the alignment has taken place.

Problems at the Town Bridge in Yarmouth

Haven Bridge is operated and maintained by Norfolk County Council and is a road bridge. At a recent inspection the HSE condemned the electrics and sealed off the control room as the site was unsafe for entry. NCC are instigating a repair, but until it is done the bridge is not being opened by NCC for fear that is could get stuck open and cause road traffic congestion. (the manual closing mechanism is housed in the control room where the condemned electric have been sealed off).In summary we have been plagued with a series of bridge failures and heat related situations. The Broads Authority has open dialogue with the various operators and keeps the pressure on them to find solutions and remedies to ensure bridge operations are maintained. Budget restrictions, C19 mitigations and an aging infrastructure have all played a part.We share the frustrations many of the boating community have due to inoperable bridges and through open dialogue and collaboration we are slowly bringing changes, but these structures are not the Broads Authority’s responsibility and getting 3rd party organisations to recognise their importance and to prioritise expenditure is ongoing.

If you have any queries regarding bridges in the Norfolk and Suffolk area, please visit the Broads Authority website. Alternatively, if you are a member of the RYA and require further assistance, please email the Cruising team

September 25, 2020

Breydon Water – 25 September 2020

Breydon Water is currently closed to hire craft due to adverse weather conditions.

Please note that winds in excess of 50mph are forecast across the Broads, so please be aware of this whilst making plans to travel today.

September 17, 2020

NSBA’s General Purposes Committee on-line meeting of Tuesday 1 September 2020

Navigation Committee

NSBA to raise the following issues with BA’s NavCom, by letter beforehand and with an attending observer:–

  • Acle Bridge and the potential use of the BA’s Capital Reserves for which there are concerns over the split of funding between National Parks Grant (60%) and Navigation Fees Income (40%);  car parks and café should be funded outside of Navigation moneys;
  • Mutford lock closure during high season was deplored;
  • Likewise Scare Gap demasting mooring also subject to maintenance during high season

A rota of attendee representatives from NSBA at NavCom to be drawn up.

Communicator Role

The search for a candidate for the ‘Communicator’ position has been difficult, however a recent strong application is being processed.  A new appointment should see significant and earliest improvement of our website and links to social media.

Hoveton Great Broad

Associated issues remain of great concern for lack of boating access and synthetic barriers to fish movement.  As a known fish breeding ground, the fishing fraternity is taking a very strong stance and this should be actively supported, also with letters to prominent decision makers.


Programmes of planned work on railway bridges over the next three winters has been circulated and recognised for the focus on lowest boating season;  this is a welcome outcome of NSBA’s direct liaison with Network Rail.

The existing outline plan for Trowse railway swing-bridge to be replaced with a fixed span is recognised to include a compensatory new marina downstream with according communication links to the city centre (footpath, cycleway, taxi and bus rank);  within some environments this part of the plan has been lost or softened and this must be reinforced at every conceivable opportunity.


Canoes, kayaks and SUPs (light craft) are perceived easily to fall between gaps in the Tolls structure.  The perception is that owners of sailing craft and motorboats effectively subsidise use of the waterways by some light craft users;  there may be some inequality between members of British Canoeing who do not have to register their light craft with the BA for use on the Broads or pay tolls or display registration marks, and other users.  Marking and/or recording of toll compliance needs an overhaul such that non-compliant users can easily and quickly be identified.


Merchant Navy Association Boat Club (MNABC) has introduced a system of coastal Spot-Plot-Report-Record which is being trialed in East Anglia as an inland activity.  This scheme should be supported strongly and encouraged particularly amongst the motor-boating community who may often have a better ad-hoc platform from which to report.  Reports of incidents can be made to the Coastguard and in the case of The Broads to Broads Control, however, additionally NSBA would welcome all information as supporting data for identifying recurring hot spots or issues.

Committee Duties

There are many liaisons with other bodies which NSBA carries out and hence areas of responsibility rightly need to be shared amongst our volunteer committee;  each member will take on an area of special interest and act as the focal point in representing NSBA.

Other reports

Infrastructure Projects –  Lowestoft 3rd Crossing (approved) and Gt.Yarmouth 3rd Crossing (under consideration).

Whelpton Trophy -for deserving international/national racing achievement is held in abeyance for 2020.

Bridges Works – Simultaneous Works at Gt.Yarmouth and at Oulton Broad have locked access between the Broads and the North Sea;  on occasion this has included Works at Somerleyton and Mutford swing bridges;  there must be greater liaison between operators and some system of coordination introduced for which either NSBA or BA are well placed.

Haven Bridge – is out of action following an HSE cessation notice.  There have been group discussions between the owner (Norfolk County Highways), the operator (PeelPorts), the Broads Authority and affected boaters and commercial plaintiffs.  Some delegate organisations appear not fully to recognise that legally by Statute the navigation has priority,  even to the extent that Solicitor opinion has suggested that water users do not have rights to the navigation,  also therewith not involving appropriate level of strategic personnel;  this must be addressed and if necessary call upon RYA(legal) to bear pressure.

Peto’s Marsh  – at Carlton Nature Reserve is to get a new pontoon access for boaters along Oulton Dyke;  while this will be funded out of navigation income, it is fully recognised that the payback of accessible spoil dumping into an area of the marsh from dredgings creates a win for all parties;  effectively a spend-to-save by the BA.  NSBA’s representation on positioning of the new pontoon (with input from sailing club and commercial river users) has been taken positively.

Broads Authority Budgets – following NSBA’s representation regarding the manner in which dredging forecast budget and in-year spend outturn are reported, any mismatch of included items will be scrutinised and mitigated at BA.

Glover – the Government’s response to the Glover investigation into Landscape usage and supporting funding is expected during autumn 2020 (subject to Covid delays).  NSBA will doubtless have some issues to raise and needs to investigate the feedback opportunities.

The Green Book 2021 –  was discussed as to how much edit and renewal there might be following this 2020 Covid year.  While boating on the Broads has been significantly affected, it was felt that there remained sufficient scope to continue with normal editorial process and introduce new material as appropriate.  Further key issues are to be debated amongst the committee by email as well as the annual Fixtures Meeting perhaps being held on-line.  Clubs use of their own dedicated spaces within NSBA’s website needs to be promulgated to key club personnel.


Following considerable issue with individuals’ access to the online platform for conducting this meeting it was felt that a timely in-person meeting would be welcome;  a suitable venue to be sought which can accommodate social distancing for the committee.

This also raised the question over what form the 2020 AGM should take if it takes place;  it was suggested that a suitable venue for social distancing be appropriate, in conjunction with an online facility for those who felt apprehensive about attendance but nevertheless wished for inclusion.

Date of next meeting

Monday 19 October 2020

September 4, 2020

September 4, 2020

Hoveton Great Broad

Hoveton Great Broad and Hudson’s Bay (HGB/HB) were unlawfully closed to navigation 130 years ago.  In 2014, the NSBA objected to Heritage Lottery funding of the restoration, including dredging (see under ‘Campaigns’ on this website) because they did not include plans to reopen HGB/HB to public navigation.  Members who have passed by HGB/HB along the River Bure will have seen the gates barring entry.  The necessary planning permission for the restoration work, granted in 2014, required temporary fish barriers to be removed by the end of 10 years after their installation.  The restoration has now got to the point where the barriers are to be installed.  By a variation in 2016 of the planning permission, the barriers involve timber posts and mesh screens in place of the original specification involving gabions of stones (to which NSBA objected).  NSBA will press for the removal of the barriers when the time comes and will continue to press for the opening of HGB/HB to public navigation when the restoration is complete.

Local anglers are now campaigning against the use of barriers to clear the waters involved with evidence to show how fish stocks, particularly bream, will be depleted throughout the Broads when this happens. Angling throughout the Broads will be reduced. Anglers have set up a petition to which you may wish to add your name. For information go to