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No agreement on Broads boat tolls

PUBLISHED: 10:14 10 December 2010

The Broads Authority’s influential navigation committee yesterday refused to formally comment on plans that could see an extra £250,000 of boat toll money spent on the authority’s general overheads until a detailed financial case is made.

The proposal, described by the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association in Monday’s EDP as a “smash-and-grab raid” on money, is the authority’s response to a projected 30pc cut in government funding.

Chief executive John Packman said that, up to now, the authority’s national park grant had paid for a large proportion of its administrative and support services – in light of the cuts it was recognised that the navigation budget would have to bear a fairer share of these costs.

At yesterday’s meeting, he sought the views of committee members on the principles of what he described as a “transparent and fair” system for apportioning costs, but agreed that detailed figures could not be given until Defra revealed the exact size of the funding cuts.

But, members decisively agreed a resolution that they were “unable to agree to the recommendations in the absence of financial information”.

Committee member Phil Ollier acknowledged the fact that a 30pc funding cut would mean the navigation budget having to cover a greater proportion of the costs. However, he questioned why that would result in a higher sum – given that the authority was being asked to reduce expenditure in all areas.

However, Allan Mallet said the change would reflect the fact that navigation accounted for a large proportion of the authority’s work and the Broads Authority had to reflect the interests of the equally concerned conservationists.

The committee, which has to agree to any changes in the way toll money is spent, will be consulted again at its meeting in February.


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