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New rules for Broads

PUBLISHED: 15:50 24 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:15 03 July 2010

A BILL to improve the safety of the Broads and how its waterways are run sailed through Parliament yesterday and is now set to get the royal assent in the next week

Following the successful passage through the Houses of Parliament, the main rafts of the Broads Authority bill will be implemented from next April.

A BILL to improve the safety of the Broads and how its waterways are run sailed through Parliament yesterday and is now set to get the royal assent in the next week

Following the successful passage through the Houses of Parliament, the main rafts of the Broads Authority bill will be implemented from next April.

Yesterday's seal of approval by MPs on a series of technical amendments by the House of Lords comes after a two-and-half-year progress through Parliament.

From April the new legislation will give Broads Authority staff the power to issue general directions to groups of vessels to divert them if there is a safety issue.

New measures will also see the authority gain the power to remove any riverside trees or vegetation that pose a risk to craft.

The authority will also be empowered to make third-party insurance compulsory for vessels on the Broads, and a licensing scheme for hire craft will mean they must have life jackets and safety checks.

The bill also allows for further regulation of water skiers and wake boarders, including compulsory insurance, log books for all vessels and training for boat drivers.

An existing boat safety scheme, the equivalent of an MoT, will also be easier to operate by the removal of bylaws needed to bring in further regulations.

Administratively, the new rules will remove bureaucracy by taking away the requirement for the authority to operate a separate navigation account.

It will also lead to more involvement with conservation and land-based recreational bodies in appointing some authority members.

The bill was first introduced in the Houses of Parliament in November 2006 and has been subject to four debates and scrutiny by two committees. It has cost the authority £500,000 to introduce the bill.

Last night, Broads Authority chairman Stephen Johnson said he was pleased the bill had finally passed through Parliament and was about to be made law.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted that this important updating of our legislation has been given the final go-ahead.

“Now we will get on with implementing the provisions with the aim of making the Broads an even safer place to enjoy.”

Mr Johnson thanked local MPs and peers and boating organisations for their tremendous support during the bill's long progress.

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