Broads bill to be discussed
A PRIVATE bill to improve the safety and running of the Broads is set to be discussed in the House of Lords from today.The Broads Bill includes provisions on hireboat licensing, registering craft, safety certificates, third party insurance and more controversially allowing the Broads Authority to take control of craft in adjacent waters.
A PRIVATE bill to improve the safety and running of the Broads is set to be discussed in the House of Lords from today.
The Broads Bill includes provisions on hireboat licensing, registering craft, safety certificates, third party insurance and more controversially allowing the Broads Authority to take control of craft in adjacent waters.
It is two years since the bill was first introduced to the Houses of Parliament.
The Broads Authority hopes a committee of five Lords will not make any amendment to the proposed legislation.
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If the House of Lords Opposed Bill Committee makes any changes to the draft bill then it will have to go back to the House of Commons.
However the Broads Authority strongly believes the committee will not make any major procedural changes - meaning the bill can go on to its third reading in the Lords and possibly receive the Royal Assent by the end of March.
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John Packman, chief executive of the Broads Authority, said: “My understanding is that there will not be any major amendments to prevent the bill progressing. The bill has had a major review and is supported by the government and boat organisations.”
Because of delays the cost of introducing the bill has risen from �200,000 to �400,000.
The committee, set to last eight days, will discuss a dozen petitions opposing the bill.
One, from the Norfolk County Association of Town and Parish Councils, objects to the bill as it does not allow for direct election for Broads Authority members.
And several individuals have complained the bill will restrict their rights and enjoyment of navigating on river ways and will increase the power of the Broads Authority.
In December the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club withdrew its opposition to the bill and its adjacent water control plans after it was reassured that any legislation would not affect their smaller yachts.
Last night Mark Wells, chairman of the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association, said: “We have always supported the bill's safety provisions. It is unfortunate there had to be so much wrangling for so long over other disputed parts of it.
“But now agreement had been reached between all the major organisations, both locally and nationally, it is time to move on.”