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The Norfolk Broads Forum / General Chat / The Bill - A Real Debate
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Posted By Discussion Topic: The Bill - A Real Debate

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Richard
Jul-22-2006 @ 10:59 AM                           Permalink
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Richard
          

The Broads bill is an interesting piece of proposed legislation.

I'm not going to put this forum in a position of being pro or con. But I would like to see a level of educated debate about it.

With this in mind I would like to set up an internet based, "town hall" type of meeting.

There are many Broads users who cannot attend the public meetings that are held by the BA, Nav com etc. So I thought it might be interesting if we could set up an interactive Q & A session.

I've had a couple of email chat's with Dr. Packman and he's happy to do this under certain conditions, that to me, seem fair enough.

My response/suggestions to the BA are as follows:-

------------------------------------------------
I'll knock up some software where members can post questions, only after providing their first/last names, and an email address has been validated. That info I'll allow the BA to see so that they know who is posting a question, but for general display only the first name and last name initial, to protect the posters from giving out too much information on the internet.

I'll take the position of moderator, and decide which questions to ask the BA, not from the standpoint of censorship, only to make sure all questions are answered. Also with the option to edit, but explain the reason for the edit or deletion . This would be to stop repetition of questions, or violation of the forums TOS.

While I do have views about the Bill I hope that you can trust me to be impartial.

I would of course expect the BA to respond to all questions that concern the Bill, and that answers that are unsatisfactory be re-answered.

At the same time I'll run a general thread, allowing everyone to have views made public, and they will be able to comment publicly about the Q and A's.

I would ask that the BA reply within 48 hours of all posted questions.
-----------------------------------------------

Interested to hear your feedback and input.

kfurbank
Jul-22-2006 @ 11:20 AM                           Permalink
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Richard,

It sounds like a good and positive move forwards. It would be nice for the BA to be more accessible to the public, many of whom are also toll payers, either through hire or private boat ownership.

No doubt some people will see it as this forum aligning itself with the BA, hopefully not, I really hope you can make this work.

My only point is that, if the BA enter into this, they should do with commitment. Assuming that you moderate this fairly, and I've no doubt you will, then the BA should see it through, even if the road does become a bit rocky. I don't know of many supporters of the bill, in it's present format, at this moment in time, so the BA need to do much work to listen, where appropriate modify the draft and reassure the doubters.

Keith

Doesn't live to post "honestly" just been a member for so long!!!

There is no dilemma compared with that of the deep-sea diver who hears the message from the ship above, "Come up at once. We are sinking."

Speleologist
Jul-22-2006 @ 11:44 AM                           Permalink
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Richard,

This sounds like a positive move. At the moment I can't see any risk of being pro or con about the Bill anyway. Amongst virtually all people who have looked at it in depth, you will find support for some elements and opposition to others. Until the final draft there can be no hard and fast views for or against the bill as a whole. Comments sent in so far have been with the intent of influencing the final text, not supporting or opposing the bill. It is only oncew the final version which will go before parliament is published that it will be appropriate to come down either for or against the bill per se.

The one issue we are up against now is time. The BA intend to discuss and respond to the latest comments next week (28th July). Before then there is some hope, despite being past the deadline for formal consultation, that questions and views expressed could influence the final draft. After that it may be nothing more than an opportunity for the BA to put it's case in response to questions. If that is the case, then there needs to be balancing input from those who hold different views. I would not be happy if sucha forum were to provide any one organisation, (the BA or any other) a priviledged position in communicating their view. For this reason I think it only has any real value before the final draft is published.

Robin
www.robin.me.uk

Richard
Jul-22-2006 @ 11:56 AM                           Permalink
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Richard
          

Keith you raise a couple of interesting points there.

I probably should state that at the moment I am in agreement with the stance set out by the NSBA. That's just my view and of course not that of the forum or how I would moderate such a discussion.

I do think though that it's very important for both sides to have a place where they can explain their logic, and decision making.

I'm not saying that the BA or any other group has all the answers, but maybe we can use something like this to get some ideas kicked around.

Will the BA be behind it? I've really no idea, I can only hope that they will be. I'm just offering the technology (rubbish as most of it is), but the BA is on the "spin side" at the moment, if they don't play ball, the many readers, certainly those with a central London post code, might start to have their own thoughts on the matter.

Robin, you have an excellent point. JP doesn't want to do this straight away, but does realise that that it's a hearts and mind excercise.

Time is an issue I agree, but only for the BA, they have to win over the stakeholders.

Torty
Jul-22-2006 @ 2:05 PM                           Permalink
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Richard

A laudable initiative. It's time that discussion of this issue started to embrace democracy and revolve about facts and the future of the Broads and stopped being a procedural game in the various BA committees and parliamentary processes.

I don't see how the BA can take this forward without publishing at least one more consultation draft. The current draft is not in a state to be taken to parliament via an uncontested route and trying to drive it through in the face of opposition would incur significant costs. That can hardly be a good way to spend toll and tax payers' hard earned pounds. Those interested in how Private Bills work, might like to look at:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/PRBpetkit.pdf

One aspect that JP may not be happy about is that, inevitably, people's perceptions of and attitudes to the wording of the Bill will be coloured by past experiences and perceptions of BA actions / inactions / pronouncements. That was, I suspect, why JP retreated a few months ago from his willingness to engage in discussions on this forum.

So, Richard, I think you have to be prepared to fail, but what entrepreneur isn't? Site members should also be aware that, if they get too recriminatory and vindictive, they may provoke a retreat.

I welcome an opportunity to get the facts out in the open and to explore the reasons behind some of the proposals being made.

The RYA and the BMF have submitted responses to the second draft of the Bill, largely supportive of the NSBA stance. I hope to be able to get agreement to publish them on the NSBA web site early next week.

It would be helpful if the BA would publish all the responses they have received so far on the Bill. The synopses provided by JP's papers to the various BA committees are, inevitably selective and, I suspect, just a small fraction of what has been submitted. For example JP's paper to next week's Broads Authority meeting provides no information abour responses received from private individuals. It only reports selective parts of some of the submissions received from representative bodies. Better that the complete archive of views, both for and against, was available to the public. Also, it may be interesting to see those organisations who might have been expected to reply, but have refrained from doing so.

I certainly am happy that the whole of NSBA's submission is available to those who wish to read it. That is why it is on the web site.

One other message to be picked up from all this is that, despite any protestations to the contrary, BA staff still pay attention to the posts on this site. So you do have an opportunity to influence, even if it is not acknowledged as such.

Phil

roya
Jul-22-2006 @ 5:09 PM                           Permalink
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Nice One mate,
Lets hope it goes well,
Good luck to ALL concerned,i allways thought that being polite,whilst asking difficult questions is the only way forward,
Plus letting the person involved,on the other end  know who you are.
SPOT ON  Smile

roya

A Day without a smile is a wasted day

PeteSanders
Jul-22-2006 @ 5:42 PM                           Permalink
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This is a most interesting thread in my opinion, however, it also raises further concerns.

Whilst I would agree that ANY opportunity to discuss openly the content of the Bill, the reasons it is there and what we may feel about any aspect of it, I cannot see how we can have a proper and open discussion on the subject, if we have to be so very careful about what we say, in order to avoid the BA from withdrawing from the discussion.  Surely if the BA want to promote their Bill in order for it to be successful, they have to do this whether they are communicating with groups that support OR oppose it.  I cannot see how anyone with an interest in navigation can support MOST of the content of the Bill, as it serves only to RESTRICT and REGULATE their activities.  Likewise, there is unlikely to be opposition to it from other groups, eg conservationists as the Bill makes changes ONLY in favour of their interests.

Torty (Phil), has raised a major concern of mine, in that, as our individual representations have been submitted only to the BA, and JP`s report is (one imagines) quite "selective" in it`s reporting of the content of responses, how do we know that ALL, or in fact ANY of our personal responses will be presented to the meeting of the Authority.  I, clearly do not trust the BA, and have clearly stated so in my response.

Do members here, think it would be a good idea to post our personal responses to the 2nd draft here, to ensure that they are all out in the open, and everyone can then see what has been said, and to what extent.  I am certainly prepared to post my response to the draft here, as sent to the BA, although I fully appreciate that not all members may want to do this, and that not all those who responded are members of this forum.  It would though give us site members an idea of responses though, without what I see as BA censorship!

Finally, I`d like to wish Richard all the best in organising this, although I think he will have a difficult task on his hands.  I don`t doubt though, that if discussions are entered into here, that he will moderate them fairly and impartially.  (Shame really, as I won`t then be able to say what I REALLY think!!! Evil Grin )

Pete

Speleologist
Jul-22-2006 @ 7:22 PM                           Permalink
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Some very interesting points already, and we're only discussing setting up a discussion!

It would be great if the responses were in the public domain. I have emailed requesting copies, but as I only did it today, I don't expect a reply until next week. Regardless of the outcome I'm happy to have my responses public. I will probably put them on my website next week and post a link here. I could post the full text here, but they are fairly long.

Checking the timetable, although the formal consultation has ended, the Authority do not intend to agree the final text until September 28th, thereby allowing the possibility of any discussion here having an influence. As Richard said, it's a hearts and minds thing, but that is two way. If the sole purpose, from the BA perspective, is to explain and justify, then it is a waste of time. If however, they are prepared to listen and be influenced as well as influence, then we have democracy at work and it will be well worthwhile.

I agree with Phil, that at least one more consultation draft is needed. I just hope that the BA see this too, and seek to engage fully in the democratic process rather than sacrifice it to a timetable.

Edited just to correct some terrible typos

Robin
www.robin.me.uk

This message was edited by Speleologist on Jul-22-06 @ 8:00 PM

JennyMorgan
Jul-22-2006 @ 7:34 PM                           Permalink
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Alegedly all private submissions have been copied to members of the Authority. I received my copies, only to find that my own submission was not included.

I immediately phoned up the BA and asked why not. I was told that I had had my chance of my say via the Navigation Committee, which is hardly true. One thing the Nav Com has not had is any meaningful imput into the the navigation issues within the Bill, despite the clarity of our standing within the 1988 Act.

I then asked if other submissions had also been witheld and was asssured that they hadn't. Within the hour I received an e-mail to tell me that my submission, along with others that had missed the dealine, would be sent out on Monday.

Of course I am not a suspicious person by nature so I accept that all submissions will have been sent to the various committee members before the 'big' meeting, and none will have been doctored.  

Jenny Morgan,

like wot the Welsh bird and the star is on the left. Traditional bit of Norfolk Wherry kit!

PeteSanders
Jul-22-2006 @ 7:52 PM                           Permalink
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Jenny,

I`m going to send you my personal response to the Bill by PM, until the concensus of opinion is that we can post them somewhere public, like this site.  I am very worried by what you have said there; - it has done nothing to bolster my trust in the BA, and in some ways confirms my suspictions!  I have heard of other instances where correspondence has been forwarded selectively by the BA, from reliable sources.

"Having your say" at the Navcom meeting is not the same as your responses to the Bill being put to the full Authority meeting, who as was demonstrated over the tolls increase, WILL have the final say!

Pete

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