The Broads

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The Broads are a network of mostly navigable rivers and lakes in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Broads, and some surrounding land was constituted as a special area with a level of protection similar to a UK National Park by The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act of 1988. The Broads Authority, a Special Statutory Authority responsible for managing the area, became operational in 1989.[1]

The total area is 303 square kilometres (117 sq mi), most of which is in Norfolk, with over 200 kilometres (120 mi) of navigable waterways. There are seven rivers and 63 broads, mostly less than 4 metres (13 ft) deep. Thirteen broads are generally open to navigation, with a further three having navigable channels. Some broads have navigation restrictions imposed on them in autumn and winter.[2]

Although the terms Norfolk Broads and Suffolk Broads are used to identify specific areas within the two counties respectively, the whole area is sometimes referred to as the "Norfolk Broads". The Broads has the same status as the national parks in England and Wales; the Broads Authority has powers and duties almost identical to the national parks, but is also the third-largest inland navigation authority. Because of its navigation role the Broads Authority was established under its own legislation on 1 April 1989. More recently the Authority wanted to change the name of the area to The Broads National Park in recognition of the fact that the status of the area is equivalent to the rest of the national park family, but was unable to get agreement from all the different parties. The Broads Authority Act 2009, which was promoted through Parliament by the Authority, improves public safety on the water.



The Broads are administered by the Broads Authority. Special legislation gives the navigation of the waterways equal status with the conservation and public enjoyment of the area.

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