Friday, September 28, 2007

Speeders nabbed in Broads crackdown

Eighteen boat owners face prosecution and more than 150 have been givwen written warnings in a crackdown on speeding on the Norfolk Broads.

Adrian Vernon, head navigation ranger with the Broads Authority, said: "We have already handed out 163 written warnings this year compared to 70 last year in a bid to increase safety, reduce bank erosion which silts up the rivers, and increase availability on 24 hour moorings.

"We have full backing from the boating public in this and are taking much firmer action against speeding and other offences than we have in the past. Our Sediment Management Strategy has shown that if we reduce speeding we reduce the amount of sediment deposited in the Broads, which in turn will save costs in dredging."

Stephen Potter of Wortham in Suffolk was fined £300 and ordered to pay £120 costs by Lowestoft magistrates for two offences of speeding on the River Waveney in a Bayliner sports boat.

He admitted speeding at between 15 and 20 mph in a 6mph limit and navigating without care and caution on February 17th. He also admitted speeding at over 10mph on March 10th. The maximum fine for speeding is £1,000.

The Broads Authority is about to launch a new DVD, "Better Boating on the Broads," which is full of advice on how to navigate the Broads safely, sustainably and courteously.

It is part of a new education and enforcement package aimed to promote safety and respect for the fragile eco-system and rare wildlife of the waterways as well as other river users. It will be available to holidaymakers when they book their boats and from Broads Authority information centres and the Broads Authority’s Norwich headquarters.

Navigation rangers who patrol the Broads to keep the waterways safe are handing out leaflets which explain the need for boats to drive within the speed limits to protect water-level nesting birds, other river users and the rivers from silting up.

The leaflet "Slow Down, Don’t make waves" has a map of the Broads showing the location of the different speed limits which vary from 3mph to 6mph. They are being given to hire boatyards, marinas, clubs and helmsmen who are stopped for speeding. The Broads Authority’s visitor magazine "Broadcaster" also carries information on speed limits and excess wash.

If people see other boats speeding excessively or creating a large amount of wash they are asked to make a note of the offending boat and contact River Control on 01692 678459.