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Poppy

Tolls 2020

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42 minutes ago, BroadsAuthority said:

Hi all,

Although not directly relevant to the ongoing discussions in this thread, a number of individuals elsewhere online have been questioning whether we actually bother to prosecute non-payers of tolls and also what our powers are with regards to not paying.

There seems to be some friction between those who pay their toll and those who openly refuse to despite being regular users the broads system, I thought the below information provided by our Collector of Tolls would be interesting to some of you on here.

"Last season we submitted 46 non-payment cases for prosecution, 12 of those cases were settled out of court (owners paid the toll and our costs) and one case was withdrawn as the owner and the boat disappeared from the area. Of the remaining 33 cases all were found in our favour and we were awarded over £7,000 in compensation and over £4,500 in costs. Fines totalling over £9,000 were issued to non-payers.

During the current tolls year we have to date received a total of £5313.80 in compensation and old year payments.
"

I presume the £7,000 was the re-payment of the due tolls?

£4,500 in costs for 33 prosecutions averages £136 per case. That hardly covers one hour's work for a junior. What was the actual total cost incurred in those prosecution, please?

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4 hours ago, marshman said:

Not sure either that the reference to Tingdene is fair either - I doubt that will be free unless someone knows different?

Planning consent included visitor moorings, doubt that they will be free though.

The walk from the Yacht Station and the point opposite the Tea gardens  are probably near to being equidistant from the new SWT Visitor Centre itself, about three miles there and back. 

I do have a concern regarding the investment required for providing these new pontoons. Back to Whitlingham for a moment, it appears that we might lose the 24hr mooring, subject to current negotiations.  That these negotiations are even taking place suggests that either the lease is up for renewal or that there was no lease in the first place. Perhaps Tom will confirm. If I were on the management team at Whitlingham, or Carlton Marshes for that matter, I would want those moorings to be visitor or customer only moorings. I would not want them tied up with the same boats each weekend, as happens at the Tea Gardens, their crews never using the visitor facilities.  I would not wish to see either Whitlingham nor Carlton Marshes pulling, or being able to pull  the plug when it is realised that those who moor to a 24hr mooring don't necessarily wish to visit the attraction. 

5 hours ago, batrabill said:

This is fun!

Am so glad that you are enjoying yourself!

 

6 hours ago, BroadsAuthority said:

(it's also worth noting that our recollection is that disposal of spoil at the Wherry Dykes on Jensen's Island was opposed by some members of the public in the past).

Tom. as far as I aware it was not spoil disposal as such that was the problem, more that back filling the dykes would have resulted in the loss of navigable water contrary to the terms of the Broads Act and consequently the loss of 'wild' moorings and established fish spawning areas. Indeed the public, as you call it, were very supportive of the continued disposal of spoil on the Island, however it was SWT that opposed that. I had rather hoped that they had had a change of heart on that one. I'm sure that John can fill you in on all the details. By the way it was the Broads Society that opposed the loss of the navigable water. As for SWT, they wanted the dykes filled with spoil that had already been dumped on the Island thus returning it to the level of the surrounding marshes rather than using freshly dredged material. A pity that Trudi is not still with the Authority, I'm sure that she would have been able to have filled you in with the various arguments and debates, not least with SWT and their demands in relation to the Wherry Dykes.

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On 29/11/2019 at 13:12, JennyMorgan said:

The way around an inflation linked cap is to claim additional expenses, e.g. the extravagance of this questionable new mooring. Once again, roughly 50% of OUR toll is hived off for 'overheads'. The more the toll can be edged up the more he has to spend. This new mooring is a one off, but will £30/£60k be deducted from next year's toll? Not if Dr Devious has his way!

I have asked questions of several people that are in a position to know and whilst I have had positive, revealing answers I must treat them as being given in confidence. Nevertheless I will say that it appears that neither of us are entirely accurate in our claimed percentages. I will ask if I may quote the actual figures, figures that were agreed by Authority members,  and the gist of the supporting comments and relevant documents for they make interesting reading. 

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to be fair the method of setting budgets by taking the previous years spending and adding a bit is quite the norm everywhere, come january everyone that works this way will be rapidly trying to spend its allocated budget for fear that their budget will be reduced the next year, so we can hardly claim that the Authority are doing anything that is out of the normal, accounting wise,

justifying it to the people forking out is a different matter.

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4 hours ago, grendel said:

so we can hardly claim that the Authority are doing anything that is out of the normal, accounting wise,

There are those who won't agree, needless to say, and that is the basis of a fair smidgen of historical distrust. Regarding spending allocated budgets, yes, common practice, in some quarters. It is also not uncommon to use the leftovers, so to speak,  to build up reserves which would seem prudent. In the case of the Authority it is duty bound to spend tolls income rather than to build such a reserve, not sure if that is a good thing or not but in theory it should mean that our toll relates directly to the level of service and infrastructure investment that we receive, however this does not currently appear to be the case.  There does appear to be a level of reticence in using the leftovers.

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23 hours ago, Paladin said:

I presume the £7,000 was the re-payment of the due tolls?

£4,500 in costs for 33 prosecutions averages £136 per case. That hardly covers one hour's work for a junior. What was the actual total cost incurred in those prosecution, please?

Hi Paladin,

You are correct in your presumption, £7,000 was for the repayment of due tolls.

The legal costs were between £150 and £230 per case depending on the complexity. The judge has discretion over awarding costs based on the circumstances of the individual – hence the lower average figure of £136. Our costs are kept to a minimum by listing several cases on the same day in many instances. As you will appreciate prosecution is the final step in our process, the vast majority of toll payers are law abiding and in many instances the matter if resolved before court action is needed.

Tom

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It is good to see that the BA prosecute those who fail to pay tolls. However, there are a small number who, even after conviction, refuse to pay. I know of at least two such who continue to "constantly cruise". Are there any plans to pursue these well-known individuals, or are they "written off"? It appears that these individuals are on benefits and are unable/unwilling to pay any tolls.In such cases, it may not be financially viable to continue to pursue them for their tolls. Whilst such a move may be considered somewhat draconian, accepting unpaid work in lieu of toll payment may be an option? I am thinking about such work as clearing up the litter and general mess which is often found on the banks around Norwich.  

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39 minutes ago, socrates said:

It is good to see that the BA prosecute those who fail to pay tolls. However, there are a small number who, even after conviction, refuse to pay. I know of at least two such who continue to "constantly cruise". Are there any plans to pursue these well-known individuals, or are they "written off"? It appears that these individuals are on benefits and are unable/unwilling to pay any tolls.In such cases, it may not be financially viable to continue to pursue them for their tolls. Whilst such a move may be considered somewhat draconian, accepting unpaid work in lieu of toll payment may be an option? I am thinking about such work as clearing up the litter and general mess which is often found on the banks around Norwich.  

I think you will find that schemes such as community pay back are run by the probation service under strict guidelines and controls , I don't think the authority would be allowed to run a similar scheme or would want to do so due to the amount of work required to police such litter picks .

While it's fair to say some individuals on low incomes such as pensions etc don't pay there must be many that do , similarly it would very likely be the case that some in well paid jobs don't pay .

It's the same with moorings it's not always those that " continuously cruise" that are a problem it's often found boat owner's with marina berths often overstay too .

I'm sure the authority will enlighten us on the situation but l largely suspect that it will be a case of no one escapes being prosicuted for none payment , regardless of their income level .

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I understand no individual or individuals have been identified on this thread for nonpayment but just to make it clear it would be against the TOS if it were to happen.

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1 hour ago, socrates said:

It is good to see that the BA prosecute those who fail to pay tolls. However, there are a small number who, even after conviction, refuse to pay. I know of at least two such who continue to "constantly cruise". Are there any plans to pursue these well-known individuals, or are they "written off"? It appears that these individuals are on benefits and are unable/unwilling to pay any tolls.In such cases, it may not be financially viable to continue to pursue them for their tolls. Whilst such a move may be considered somewhat draconian, accepting unpaid work in lieu of toll payment may be an option? I am thinking about such work as clearing up the litter and general mess which is often found on the banks around Norwich.  

Hi Socrates,

If you send an email to Broads Control at broads.control@broads-authority.gov.uk and report the individuals we will investigate where we can. Not that I'm suggesting you were but please don't name anyone in this thread.

D46 is entirely correct in his/her comment, we are in absolutely no position legally to instigate what is effectively community service for non-payment.

We will go forward with a prosecution attempt regardless of income level, however whether we are able to recuperate the costs and money owed from those on low-incomes varies from case to case and is at the judge's discretion.

Thanks,

Tom

 

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Perhaps toll payer miscreants should be forced to monitor forums for disparaging BA related threads and comments?

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2 hours ago, Maxwellian said:

I understand no individual or individuals have been identified on this thread for nonpayment but just to make it clear it would be against the TOS if it were to happen.

Oh thee of little faith!!

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49 minutes ago, JennyMorgan said:

Perhaps toll payer miscreants should be forced to monitor forums for disparaging BA related threads and comments?

Please don't take that away from me Peter. It's the favourite part of my job!

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2 hours ago, BroadsAuthority said:

Please don't take that away from me Peter. It's the favourite part of my job!

And unlike us you are paid to do it, hope that it's not charged to navigation!

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2 hours ago, BroadsAuthority said:

Please don't take that away from me Peter. It's the favourite part of my job!

Ah, you see...don't admit to enjoying your job! That's like asking for a wage cut! :default_icon_eek:

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5 hours ago, BroadsAuthority said:

Hi Socrates,

If you send an email to Broads Control at broads.control@broads-authority.gov.uk and report the individuals we will investigate where we can. Not that I'm suggesting you were but please don't name anyone in this thread.

D46 is entirely correct in his/her comment, we are in absolutely no position legally to instigate what is effectively community service for non-payment.

We will go forward with a prosecution attempt regardless of income level, however whether we are able to recuperate the costs and money owed from those on low-incomes varies from case to case and is at the judge's discretion.

Thanks,

Tom

 

As far as I know magistrates have the power to impose both community pay back orders and deductions from State benifits be the pension or otherwise , the only problem is it takes a considerable about of time to pay the amount back especially if fines are involved as they go not to the authority but the treasury .

It's very simple to report anyone for outstanding tolls but I would seriously check on BAs toll checker before making that call as it's extremely difficult to judge who is and who isn't , rather than the obvious judging a book by its cover I prefer a level of accuracy before having the authority case up what could well be a legitimate vessel in full compliance of the bylaws .

Very easy to do ( after checking of cause ) by phoning broads control or via email if you have a signal .

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15 hours ago, Timbo said:

Ah, you see...don't admit to enjoying your job! That's like asking for a wage cut! :default_icon_eek:

All jokes aside I do thoroughly enjoy coming on here (and elsewhere) to communicate with our stakeholders. It's always nice to be of help whenever I can. No Peter I don't believe any of my time is charged to the navigation account :default_biggrin:

D46 you have hit the nail on the head there. We always encourage people to use our online checker (https://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/boating/owning-a-boat/tolls/annual-toll/annual-toll-check) to be sure. Our Rangers also use an app developed a few summers' ago by UEA students that allows them to check tolls, BSS and insurance on the fly.

If you're able to we are always grateful for support from toll payers by ringing up/emailing to let us know if they've seen an untolled boat.

Tom

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5 minutes ago, BroadsAuthority said:

I don't believe any of my time is charged to the navigation account 

:default_icon_clap::default_icon_clap::default_icon_clap:

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I have since received replies regarding the percentage of tolls that is creamed off for overheads and  I think that we can regard this information as being reasonably factual. It appears that for a number of years the Authority was able to half-hitch 40% for overheads and this was agreed by Authority members. About four years ago the 40% was reduced to 25% so JP's claim of 19.1% is probably correct, as once was my suggestion of about 50%. Why I suggested 50% and I suspect the NSBA's 45% was because of the quite reasonable suggestion that 5% to 10%  over enthusiastic appropriation was not unlikely, more about that later!

More facts, with a tad of opinion, the Acle Bridge moorings were apparently bought for £160.000.00, probably a reasonable amount, it was paid for from the navigation account. The Ludham Bridge field centre was sold for £400,000.00 yet it appears that that windfall has been ring-fenced for the proposed Visitor Centre/Vanity Project at Acle. The visitor centre plans are clear, the Vistor Centre's close proximity to the river bank means that moorings will very definitely be lost. We need to be clear in that  the DEFRA/NP grant will reimburse Navigation for the lost moorings. The Ludham Bridge field centre was originally bought with navigation money thus the proceeds of that sale must surely be returned to Navigation coffers, both profit and accumulated interest. 

It now boils down to trust. The annual financial summery clearly shows what goes out and what comes in, but these accounts no longer tell us what, for example, is actually spent on dredging. Please accept that this is a precis of what I have been told. The accounts are much less than clear now although probably accurate. However it appears that we don't know all in all what is actually charged to navigation, and there lies a part of the problem.  

In the meantime the Navigation Account is effectively bank rolling the proposed Acle Debacle, that has to be questionable.

The Navigation account surely has at least £400.000.00 in reserve yet the Authority keeps demanding more.

The Authority's wriggling and turning in regard to the national park tag clearly illustrate their way of doing business, we need to remain alert and cautious.

 

 

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