Broads Authority Briefing, September 2017

Briefing by the Chief Executive of the Broads Authority

To All Members and Members of Staff, Volunteers, Parish Councils and Stakeholders

As you would expect August has been a really busy month out in the Broads. Last week was particularly so for the Rangers. The team assisted with several incidents including recovering broken down vessels and helping the Coastguard with medical emergencies as well as the usual advice to visitors.

Incident at Great Yarmouth Yacht Station

Broads Authority Members, Members of Staff and readers of the EDP will know of the action by one of Quay Assistants, Gary Cotton, at the Great Yarmouth Yacht Station on Tuesday 15th August in saving the life of a little girl who ran off the quay into the water. His swift response certainly avoided a tragedy. We are using this incident to refresh the message about the importance of wearing a lifejacket, particularly for children.

Visit by Tesco Director and senior members of staff

Many of you will know that Tesco is supporting the Authority’s work with the Catchment Partnership and in particular promoting the use of new innovative pieces of equipment that can disrupt the tramlines caused by modern machinery running up and down the fields. Louis Baugh kindly hosted the visit for us. We were lucky with the weather, as you can see from my attached photo of one of the bits of equipment, an Earthwake, behind Louis’ tractor. It cuts furrows across the tramlines to allow rainfall to percolate into the soil rather than carrying soil and nutrient off into the watercourses and eventually into the Broads system.

There is a short blog on the Tesco website about the project:

Update on Acle Bridge moorings

Last month I told you that we had purchased the moorings at Acle Bridge. Since then we have brought the site up to our normal standards for a 24 hour mooring by filling in the pot holes, repairing capping on the piling and installing safety equipment (throw lines). This has all been very well received by people using the site. We have also commissioned a survey of the main building to establish its condition.

Speeding and late patrols

This season the ranger team have carried out an increased number of late patrols (past 7pm). These patrols have been focussed in areas with high visitor numbers such as Wroxham and Horning as well as at events and regattas. The aim of the patrols is to provide assistance, advice and where necessary enforcement to boaters at this time.  The rangers have also been carrying out a number radar speed checks at busy mooring sites around the Broads.   The aim of these checks is to promote safety at moorings where excess wash, created by increased speed, can cause significant damage to moored boats. We also want boaters to know that Rangers may not always be on the launch and may be situated at the water’s edge when carrying out speed checks to encourage them to think about their speed.

Sentencing regarding incident at Oulton Broad

Last Friday the Ipswich County Court considered the sentencing hearing of the helm of a RIB in relation to the incident at Oulton Broad in August last year. The prosecution had been commenced by the BA and Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA), but continued by the MCA following its transfer to Crown Court. This was due to the decision to progress the more serious indictable crimes under section 100 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, rather than the summary offences for breach of byelaws.

On 25th August 2016 the helm piloted his RIB at night into the side of a moored cruiser “Mistle Thrush” causing serious damage to both craft and injuries to those on board. One striking thing about the collision was that the RIB battery was torn from its housing, freezing the tachometer at 4800rpm which allowed the speed at the time of the impact to be calculated.

The Judge found that the Defendant had been piloting his vessel under the influence of alcohol in the dark of night at 5 times the 6mph speed limit. The Judge rejected any mitigation over the fact of regatta week noting that if there was a culture of drinking by the masters of vessels then it should stop.

The Judge sentenced Mr Barrett to 9 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. He is required to undergo 15 days’ rehabilitation and undertake 120 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £15,000 costs which will include a contribution to the Broads Authority for the time spent compiling the case.

Fen harvester at Wicken Fen

Yesterday we were delighted to receive an email from the National Trust praising the work of Dougie (Martin), a member of staff. Our Fen Harvester (a Log logic FastTrack MKII) is a unique bit of kit which was designed and built for the Broads Authority.

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire was the first nature reserve owned by the National Trust. The ecology and environment is very similar to fens found in the broads and we had been sharing information and expertise on the management of these landscapes. As a result the Trust has been considering whether it should follow our lead and order a Fen Harvester to assist in the management of Wicken Fen. We agreed to lend them ours so they could try it out and Natural England paid for the costs of the trial. Here is an extract from the National Trust correspondence:

“The trial was a great success and Dougie was a star. During the week we had visits from several of the regional management team who will be making the final decision on acquiring one of these. Dougie played a great role in chatting to them and explaining how it was all going. For my part I was amazed at the speed with which the work progressed and the quality of the finished ‘produce’”.

Navigation Committee 7th September

This Thursday we have our regular meeting of the Navigation Committee and it has some interesting reports on the agenda. Tom Hunter provides an update on our dredging process and the implications of the more accurate surveys now available of the river bed. Sue Stephenson will be giving a presentation on our systematic approach to the management of riverside tree and scrub, taking account of all the different interests. Adrian Clarke will give a presentation on the Draft River Wensum Strategy and the plans to make more of the river in Norwich. You can access the reports via the Authority’s website link at:

Hope you have had a good summer too.

With regards

John Packman
Chief Executive
Broads Authority – looking after the Broads National Park
Broads Authority, Yare House, 62-64 Thorpe Road. Norwich NR1 1RY

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