Archive for ‘NSBA Campaigns’

December 18, 2018

DEFRA Landscapes Review (Glover) – NSBA response

Photo by Sue Hines

The Government has asked for an independent review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). As a member of the National Parks family, the Broads are included in this review.  Details of the review can be found at:

The NSBA are concerned about the possible impact of the review on navigation rights and have made their response as an organisation – details here.


November 26, 2018

DEFRA Landscapes Review – protect Broads navigation rights

The Government has asked for an independent review of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). As a member of the National Parks family, the Broads are included in this review.  Already the review team, led by Julian Glover, have visited the Broads and the Broads Authority has prepared a draft response to them.  This was published with the papers for the recent Broads Authority meeting – link to document here.

The NSBA are concerned about the possible impact of the review on navigation rights and will be preparing their own submission before the consultation deadline of 18 December 2018.

Alongside the NSBA response, we encourage individual users of the Broads to complete the online survey which can be found at:


September 4, 2018

Swing Bridges – evidence needed of service failure

Recent hot weather has resulted in operational problems with the Reedham and Somerleyton swing bridges, so that they can’t be opened to permit large or tall vessels to pass.  The Broads Authority have been talking to Network Rail about the problems for several years and in August 2018 held a workshop attended by Network Rail and representatives from boat users and the BA.  Notes of this workshop can be downloaded here.

The bridges were both built in 1906 and are effectively at “end of life”. Network Rail have carried out engineering studies and consultations which recently concluded that replacement opening structures are the preferred long term maintenance option. However special funding is required, which Network Rail intend to apply for next March.

In order to support the case for the special funding for replacement bridges, please can you advise any delays you have experienced waiting for the Reedham and Somerleyton swing bridges to open to the river. Did the delay cause you to miss appointments, miss events, miss the tide, or incur other costs? All events considered, with summer 2018 most relevant.  Please send details of any problems as set out below to

Your name  
Date of delay  
Details of delay  
Consequences of delay  

Thank you.

November 15, 2016

Tolls response from Broads Authority

NSBA recently sent a message to members informing them of the tolls changes proposed for 2017/18 with a list of bullet points highlighting particular areas of concern for private boat owners.  NSBA has received a letter from Professor Jacquie Burgess, chair of the Broads Authority responding to these points.

The content of the letter with annotations by NSBA can be downloaded here.  Officers of NSBA will be meeting with Professor Burgess and Dr Packman next week and look forward to continuing the discussion.

November 4, 2016

Radical Tolls Changes for 2017

The Navigation Committee of the Broads Authority has recently approved a radical change in the structure of tolls for 2017/18.  This follows advice from a 7 member BA Tolls Review Group set up in September 2015.

Whilst the effect on hire boats is modest, many private boat owners will face dramatic changes in the level of their tolls.

  • Almost a third of motor boats face an increase of over 10%
  • Many traditional broads sailing cruisers have an increase of over 20% – some over 50%!

At the same time, very small boats will see large reductions in tolls – around 20% for an Optimist dinghy or a 15’ motor launch.  A calculator with tables setting out the effect on your toll can be found here: private-tolls-2017_18

NSBA are disappointed that the Navigation Committee has chosen an outcome which will adversely affect a large number of private boat owners.   We encourage boat owners to express their views directly to the Broads Authority to reinforce our comments.


Now the quiz:  See which boats the BA are encouraging via their Tolls policy:- One boat has a 16% increase, the other is over 30%

River Cruiser

fairline targa 34




Yes – you’ve guessed – the Fairline is 15.8% and the River Cruiser is 30.2%

Click here to see some other examples of new 2017 Toll changes.

October 21, 2016

BA Tolls Proposals 2017-18 – Radical changes for Private boat users

NSBA has today issued the following Press Release.  We have also produced our own supporting tables of charges, which can be downloaded here:Private boatsHire boats  For private boats these show the effect of keeping a “fixed and variable” combined rate, rather than the BA proposed “flat” rate toll.

The Navigation Committee of the Broads Authority will consider proposals to make radical changes to tolls at its meeting on 27th October. 

At a time when inflation is around 1%, private boat owners will face dramatic changes in the level of their tolls with some increases of over 50%. Almost a third of motor boats will face an increase of over 10%. This compares with Hire Boats where only 4 motor boats see such a large increase – all of these are diesel generator boats where the electric subsidy has been withdrawn.

57% of private boats will see a change (increase or decrease) in toll of over 10% – equating to over 5,000 boats.

Many traditional broads sailing boats will also face increases of over 20%, some as high as 40%.

At the same time, lower tolls for smaller boats could reduce income from these craft by around £100,000 – a puzzling strategy for an organisation with Navigation income below forecast and concerned about its ability to meet its future spending commitments.

These extreme changes come about because a proposal to adopt a single rate to apply to the boat size to calculate the toll, whilst trying to achieve an overall increase in toll income of 3.3%.

David Talbot, vice-chair of the Norfolk & Suffolk Boating Association, commented “whilst we welcome many of the changes, we are disappointed that the oversimplification of the proposed method has led to such extreme variations in tolls for private boats. We urge the Navigation Committee to consider the full impact of the proposals on individual boat owners.  As they stand, we feel that the proposals are neither sufficiently flexible nor fair to our members.”

May 11, 2015

Hoveton Great Broad – letter to Heritage Lottery Fund

NSBA has written to the Heritage Lottery Fund to express its view that funding the proposed restoration project from public sources would be wrong for the following reasons:

  • Hoveton Great Broad is tidal water which was illegally closed to the public in the late nineteenth century and public access to it would not be significantly improved after completion of the proposed project.
  • The proposed fish barriers, as detailed in the planning application, would be difficult to remove and would effectively prevent any possibility of the Broad being re-opened to navigation in the future.
  • The science of shallow lakes is by no means simple nor is there a consensus on the mechanisms at work nor the steps which lead to improved water quality.
  • The site has been under the management of the owner since the public were excluded and in recent decades that management has been in partnership with Natural England. It is accepted that the site’s current state is unacceptable, yet similar, previously unsuccessful, management arrangements will persist during and after the project.
  • The proposed canoe trail which purports to improve public access does no such thing. It provides no canoe access to the Broad itself, and is essentially a means of using public funds to create an asset for private commercial exploitation by the landowner.

Click here to download full letter: HLF letter May 2015

November 3, 2011

Government Response to Consultation on Running of the Broads

Defra Consultation on the Governance Arrangements for the National Parks and the Broads

The outcome of the consultation was published in September. The Government does not propose any change in the size of the Broads Authority. This accords with NSBA’s representations to Defra.

Unfortunately, the Government has decided not to change the composition of the Authority, despite the NSBA’s submission that there should be some seats on the Authority reserved for representatives of tollpayers. At present there is no guarantee that a single tollpayer is a member of the Broads Authority. This seems indefensible when tollpayers contribute so much to the Authority’s budget. By 2014/15 tollpayers will provide 48% of the Authority’s income, the proportion of toll income being used to fund overhead costs rising from 21.5% to 43% in that time. NSBA will continue to press for tollpayer representation.

The Government has agreed with the Broads Authority’s wish to carry out a formal review of the Authority’s consultative structure, including the Navigation Committee. The NSBA regards the role of that Committee as of fundamental importance and would not wish to see it diluted in any way. NSBA will be active in seeking to ensure that this does not happen.

October 25, 2011

NSBA Reply to DEFRA Consultation


Insensitive application of statutory powers could damage the whole social and economic fabric of the Broads, says the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association (NSBA), in a submission to the Department of Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) on its consultation on the future management of National Parks and the Broads.

NSBA, which represents private boat owners and toll-payers on the Broads, says a reduction in the number of those using the Broads would impact on the infrastructure and lead to a reduction in the potential income to both the Broads Authority (BA) and the local economy from visiting boat-hirers and owners.

Defra is seeking to update Government policy on dealing with climate change, conservation and enhance of the landscape and natural heritage, securing maximum value for money from funding and, fostering biodiversity, within National Parks and the Broads. Public bodies would be seen as acting unreasonably if they ignored it and/or acted differently without good reasons for doing so.

NSBA vice-Chairman Richard Card said: “The economic infrastructure of the Broads is not a matter simply of local concern because it (particularly boat building and repair) supports a significant turnover of work for other areas of the UK and for the export industry. It is therefore an added responsibility for the Broads Authority to safeguard this in the interests of the national economy as a whole.”

Without adequate income the BA would not be able to maintain the navigation area, to the consequent detriment of the Broads system.

“Without the essential dredging work, for example, the system would gradually become unusable for navigation; the income derived from it by local businesses would dramatically shrink and the wildlife associated with the waterways would reduce in variety and number,” he said.

The Broads are a fragile eco-system. Even a temporary incursion of flooding by the sea would affect their biodiversity for years. Difficult, radical decisions had to be made, and the necessary funding secured to protect the future. Other national waterways receive considerable grant funding from central government, and toll payers should not foot the entire bill.

“We welcome the statement that Defra will discuss with the BA whether some additional funding should be incorporated in the Authority’s grant baseline for future years, but we would urge that the question is not ‘should it’ but ‘how much’ and ask ‘will it be ring-fenced for use in respect of the navigable waters?”

He also called for the restoration of public staithes, something that the Broads Authority had sadly neglected.

October 25, 2011

Consultation on the Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 200X

In the summer, the Department of Transport published a consultation paper proposing that the definition of ‘ship’ in five pieces of merchant shipping legislation dealing with registration as a British ship, safety of vessels, conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals and ‘drink/drive laws on the water’ should be extended to every description of watercraft which are not currently classified as ‘ships’. The proposals were motivated by problems caused by irresponsible drivers of personal watercraft (eg jet-skis) in coastal waters, but they would also bring within the extended legislation: sailing dinghies, rowing boats, sailboards, canoes, rowing eights, fours etc and speedboats, for example.

The NSBA responded to the consultation. The response is on the NSBA website. The NSBA stated that, while there might be a need for the proposed extension of the legislation to those waters where there is currently no legislative regime in order to deal with the unsafe navigation, or the unsafe condition, of vessels, or the effect of alcohol or drugs, the navigation area of the Broads is already subject to an adequate legislative regime in these respects in respect of vessels of the types listed above. The NSBA stated that there is no need for further legislation relating to safety as far as the Broads are concerned. To introduce it would lead to unnecessary duplication with the risk of inconsistency between the two regimes.

The outcome of this consultation is not yet known.

click here to view the NSBA response in PDF format