UK. Broads Navigation Committee recommend extra £100,000 for dredging and disposal
Tuesday, 31 October 2006
At the Broads Authority Navigation Committee on Thursday October 26th members and officers recommended that a further £100,000 should be spent on dredging the rivers and broads and the creation of suitable disposal sites for the sediment.
This will mean that a record total of over £750,000 will be spent on dredging and sediment disposal in 2007/08 made up of £500,000 from users and £250,000 from National Park Grant.
The meeting recommended a 4% increase above inflation and the offset for the decline in the hire boat fleet for river tolls for next year to fund the extra dredging. This will mean an increase of 6.1% for the hire boat fleet and 9.9% for private owners.
Recent research by Cranfield University has shown that the Authority is removing significantly more sediment than is coming into the system. However, if the ambitions of users are to be satisfied considerably more needs to be taken out.
The costs of dredging have risen substantially in recent years from 60 pence to £1 per cubic metre in the early 1980s to on average £13 per cubic metre today, though in the River Yare where the sediment is contaminated it can be as high as £30.
Martin Broom, Chairman of the Navigation Committee, said: "The decision of the Navigation Committee to recommend an increase in the tolls for next year above the rate of inflation was only made after carefully considering the problems facing the Authority. Additional money is needed if more dredging is to be done as well as maintaining and improving the moorings and facilities throughout the Broads. The Navigation Committee will be monitoring most carefully the expenditure to ensure the extra money will only be spent on improving the navigation."
The fees are still very good value for money and typical examples are:
A rowing boat currently paying £20 will pay £21.98, next year, an increase of £1.98.A sailing dingy paying £46.82 this year will pay approximately an extra £4.60.
A large yacht paying £109 this year will pay roughly an extra £10.80
A private motor-boat paying £157 will pay approximately an extra £15.50 while a bigger boat paying £240 will pay about an extra £24.
John Packman, Chief Executive of the Broads Authority said: "I am delighted that there is a common view between the committee and officers on both the level of increase for next year and how the extra income should be spent. We are all working for the benefit of the Broads and the Authority is making excellent progress on a whole range of issues."
In order to assist local hire boat companies the increases are lower than for private owners. So a hire boat currently paying £681.85 will pay an extra £42, an increase of just over 6%.
Ken Gaylard, Chairman of the Broads Hire Boat Federation said: "Whilst any increases above inflation are unwelcome, the industry does recognise the need for additional resource to be put into the dredging programme. The toll increases agreed today will enable some of the backlog to be tackled, which is to the advantage of all Broads users."
David Adler, Vice-Chairman of the Navigation Committee, who chaired the Group looking at the management of sediment said: "The Sediment Management Group recommended a substantial increase in dredging expenditure in order to tackle the significant backlog. I am delighted that the officers accepted the member's proposals that the 2007 toll increase should be 9.9% for private boats and 6.1% for hire boats and this should be used for dredging".
The final decision on next year's fees will be made by the Broads Authority at its meeting on 24 November.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 October 2006 )