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Future plans for Broads

PUBLISHED: 12:14 14 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:52 05 July 2010

It is all too easy to visit the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, enjoy their scenic beauty and assume they will be there for ever.

But beneath the surface of miles of waterways a constant battle is being fought to stave off the ravages of nature through the growing threat of global warming.

It is all too easy to visit the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, enjoy their scenic beauty and assume they will be there for ever.

But beneath the surface of miles of waterways a constant battle is being fought to stave off the ravages of nature through the growing threat of global warming.

Now a plan which prioritises the restoration of lakes to meet government targets in 20 years time has been produced for the first time by the Broads Authority.

The lakes' restoration will be funded by half the extra national park grant of £1.3m which has been provided by the government over the next three years. But the strategy highlights that additional annual budgets of £350,000 are required to achieve Water Framework Directive targets by 2027.

By 2027 dozens of broads in Norfolk and Suffolk could be attracting more visitors thanks to their clearer waters and increasingly abundant wildlife, according to the authority. The broads are Britain's largest protected wetland and third largest inland waterways, with the status of a national park and home to some of the rarest plants and animals in the UK.

Authority bosses have launched the lakes restoration strategy saying it will increase pumping and wildlife management programmes on isolated and small broads to preserve them.

Examples of broads where work will be carried out include the Trinity Broads at Ormesby, Filby and Rollesby, which offer sailing, rowing and guided canoe trails to the public, and Norton's Broad on the Trafford Estate, upstream of Wroxham. These are earmarked for mud pumping to remove nutrients and increase depth in the next couple of years. Norton's Broad will then be opened up for guided canoe trails.

The launch of the lake-saving scheme was at the Little Broad at Fleggburgh, near Yarmouth, which has recently come back to life after a massive mud-pumping programme. Even a rare bitten has been seen there.

Andrea Kelly, head of conservation and author of the lakes strategy, said the Little Broad was a perfect example of what the project meant.

She said: “The situation could easily become critical. If we did nothing to protect the broads then some of them would not be here in 2027. It would mean we would lose a lot of heritage, wildlife and visitors.”

Ms Kelly was keen to point out that though the scheme was concentrated at certain sites, all 64 broads in the region are being maintained and protected.

At the moment £320m is generated by tourism and a large chunk of that money could easily be lost to Norfolk's economy if the broads are left to the power of nature and climate change.

The lakes restoration strategy is being funded from a government grant and the project is part of a national water framework directive involving Natural England and the Environment Agency.

The ancient art of reed and sedge cutting on the Norfolk Broads is to be given another shot in the arm as the search begins for the next set of five trainee cutters.

The Broads Authority is offering bursaries for people to go on an 18 month reed and sedge cutting course, which will involve on the job training and one day a week at Easton College.

The bursaries are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the deadline for applications is July 27.

Anyone interested in signing up can call 01603 610734.

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