IWA has submitted a representation to the Secretary of State regarding the toll increases imposed on boaters on Broads Authority navigations. In December 2023, the Broads Hire Boat Federation launched a challenge, under the Harbours Act, against the Broads Authority’s decision to increase tolls by 13% in 2023. As part of this process interested parties were invited to submit representations to the Department of Transport to assist with the decision.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads have National Park status, but navigation is integral to their character, bringing economic, environmental, and societal benefits to the region. Consequently, maintaining the safety of navigators and funding adequate maintenance is crucial. Unlike other major inland navigation authorities, the Broads Authority does not receive government funding for navigation maintenance and relies solely on toll revenue.
In the letter to the Secretary of State IWA expressed concern over the toll increases but acknowledged the challenges faced due to inflation and climate change. Climate change, in particular, has significantly impacted the Broads, necessitating increased resources for maintenance and safety provisions.
However boatyards and private boat owners are finding these toll rises difficult. The toll hikes have led to a decline in boat movement, posing a threat to the essential character of the Broads and potentially degrading its National Park status.
IWA urged the government to recognise the necessity of financial support to ensure the continued maintenance of navigation and preservation of the Broads’ character. Appropriate provision would enable tolls to be kept affordable and boats to continue as a defining feature of the Broads.