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New powers to improve Broads safety

PUBLISHED: 11:20 01 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:48 06 July 2010

A NUMBER of provisions to improve safety and the running of the Broads will come into force this autumn.

The provisions form part of the Broads Authority bill which received royal assent in July.

A NUMBER of provisions to improve safety and the running of the Broads will come into force this autumn.

The provisions form part of the Broads Authority bill which received royal assent in July.

But John Packman, chief executive of the Broads Authority, said that while some of its new powers would come into force in October, it was likely to be April next year before they were fully implemented because the organisation was working closely with various interested parties.

The new provisions coming into force on October 5 include those relating to water-skiing and wakeboarding. These will allow the authority to designate zones in the Broads where these activities can take place, to issue permits and to put up signs and issue directions.

Other provisions include amending legislation relating to Haddiscoe Cut, and allowing the Broads Authority, rather than local authorities, to license hire boats on the Broads and those operating them. The new powers will also take away the requirement for the authority to operate a separate navigation account and give provision for fixing additional boat safety standards.

Dr Packman explained that while the authority had to fix a day when the provisions would come into force, they were not likely to be fully implemented until next April.

He said: “If we look at something like hire boat licensing - which is an important provision and means that hire boats which operate in the whole of the Broads system will require a licence - as part of that licence we will agree with operators various things that need to take place. We are in discussions with them and, while we will have the powers from October for this, it will probably actually come into force next April. We want to discuss these things with various people and get their agreement. This gives people a certain amount of notice.”

Dr Packman said the authority would be discussing compulsory third-party insurance for vessels at a meeting of its navigation committee on Thursday. “This will go back to a Broads Authority meeting on September 18 and the expectation is that insurance will be required for the 2010 toll year from that April,” he said. He added that the provisions were “all important in terms of raising safety for the public”. “The Broads is a safe place, but these are important new provisions, some of which bring us into line with the rest of inland waters,” he said.

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