Broads bill gets a Lords grilling

THE Broads Authority remains confident that legislation it is sponsoring will soon be enacted after a grilling in a Lords committee this week.The five peers on the committee have so far spent four days hearing evidence from the authority on the need for its bill and from “petitioners” objecting to it.

THE Broads Authority remains confident that legislation it is sponsoring will soon be enacted after a grilling in a Lords committee this week.

The five peers on the committee have so far spent four days hearing evidence from the authority on the need for its bill and from “petitioners” objecting to it.

John Packman, the authority's chief executive, said he was pleased with

the way the committee proceedings had gone despite his being “thoroughly cross-examined by the petitioners and their agents”.

His optimism partly reflected decisions by some petitioners not to submit themselves to cross-examination, and by some others not to appear before the committee.

After hearing further evidence next week, the committee members are expected to decide the following week whether to reject the bill, amend it or approve it in its present form.

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The authority says that the legislation - the Broads Authority Bill - is needed to improve safety on the Broads. It includes powers to introduce compulsory third party insurance and the licensing of hired craft.

It has made slow progress since being introduced in the Commons in January 2007, but no boating organisation now opposes it. A petition against it by the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club has been withdrawn.

Proceedings will continue on Monday with evidence against the bill from the Norfolk County Association of Parish and Town Councils.

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