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ranworthbreeze

Broads Authority Briefing September 2019

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Good afternoon everyone,

The summer season might be over yet September has been as busy as ever for the Authority as our field staff begin shifting over to their winter work programmes. We have considerable maintenance/improvement works planned for these quieter months. Notably, the second phase of the CANAPE project at Hickling Broad is also commencing soon and I am looking forward to seeing the progress over the coming months.

The much-anticipated Review into National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was also revealed late last week. The report is a lengthy read at 168 pages, however, it raises a number of interesting points and contains a variety of different proposals into the future of our protected areas. You can read more on the report later on in the newsletter.

Please see this month's Broads Briefing below:

September 2019

October works at Hickling Broad

Phase two of our CANAPE funded project at Hickling Broad starts this autumn, following the completion of the ring of geotextile bags last winter. 

This season's campaign involves filling the central area which will make up the restored reedbed. We are aiming for 8,000 m3 of sediment to be dredged from the marked channel in Hickling Broad to get this filling underway. This will leave a similar volume to complete the project in winter 2020/2021. At the end of this coming winter, we will start the active planting of reed to kick start the recolonisation of the area into a healthy reedbed.

Chara Bay as of September 2019

A fond farewell to our apprentices and welcome to the new cohort

It has been a busy month for recruitment and we are delighted to welcome our new starters on the annual apprenticeship scheme, which runs in conjunction with Easton and Otley College. Also starting this year are two Heritage Skills Apprenticeships with the Water, Mills and Marshes team, supported by City College Norwich. 
 
It was fantastic to hear from outgoing apprentices about how much they valued this life-changing experience and support received over the year. Joseph Hamilton, Harry Oram and James Thompson finished their apprenticeships on 23 September. Many thanks to them for all of their hard work and to all who supported them throughout the year.

We'd like to welcome Eloise Dey, Emily Leonard and Becky Rimmer who are our new Construction, Maintenance and Environment apprentices. 

Brandon Jarvis (Water, Mills and Marshes Bricklayer) and Tom Allen (Water Mills and Marshes Carpentry & Joinery) will also be commencing their studies soon. Alex Deane (Ranger) is staying with us to complete his level three diploma.

Monica Pichler, a PhD student in marine microbiology (UEA) also joins us for a three-month internship looking at water levels in the Broads. She will analyse data recorded over the past 20 years to create new tidal information on water levels throughout the Broads area. This will improve predictions of flooding at 24-hour moorings, dockyard and yacht stations, and our understanding of the relationship between water levels, water quality and biology in Hickling Broad.

Our outgoing apprentices meet our new intake

'Responding to the climate emergency' report update

Following on from last week’s global climate strike, it seems appropriate to circulate the link to our final version of the report responding to the climate emergency.

The report “establishes a baseline for CO2 emissions using a common methodology with the National Park Authorities, and develops an Action Plan and monitoring system.” This will give us a bit more flexibility and time to develop medium and longer-term actions.

We have committed to some immediate actions and the Authority’s Management Team is proposing the following further carbon reduction measures with immediate effect:

Undertake an energy audit of all Authority buildings and take actions to further reduce energy consumption.

Commit to purchasing all-electric vehicles except where towing capacity or 4-wheel drive demands make this impractical;

Install additional car charging points at Authority sites.

Identify suitable locations to install solar and other micro-generation devices at Authority buildings and land; and

Review procurement practices to give additional focus to environmental criteria while still achieving good value for money.

Asher Minns, the Executive Director at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at UEA, has agreed to give a presentation to the Broads Authority meeting on 22 November. I envisage this as the first of a series of reports on climate change and hope to see us making progress to address our carbon impact.Publication of the 2018 Landscapes Review

The widely anticipated report about our National Parks and AONBs by Julian Glover was published over the weekend. Titled the Landscapes Review. It is 168 pages long and contains a wide variety of 27 far-reaching proposals including: 

Setting up a National Landscapes Service to lead the recovery and enhancement of nature

A strengthened place for national landscapes in the planning system

Expanding volunteering and enhancing the Ranger offer (providing 1,000 additional personnel) to include all special landscapes

New designated landscapes and a new National Forest.

Establishing a National Landscapes Housing Association to build affordable homes

Providing a ‘night under the stars’ in a national landscape for every child in the UK

Stronger purposes in law for our national landscapes.

Reformed governance and funding models.

I welcome the report which has lived up to its promise to enhance National Parks and preserve them for future generations and am impressed with the breadth of subjects and suggestions it contains. There is much in the report for us to consider and of course, we await the Government’s reaction. 

Whitlingham Boat and Bat trips prove popular

I would like to thank Andrea Kelly, the Ra skippers and volunteers from Norwich Bat Group, who ran two successful Boat and Bat trips on Whitlingham Broad. Visitors used bats detectors to identify several species, watch hundreds of bats flying over the water and then got to see them up close. The trips will run again next year, based on brilliant visitor feedback including: “fascinating and inspirational, and the trip on the little boat to see Daubenton [species] was simply magical.”

One of the photos from our recent boat and bat trip event

Bankside tree clearance and other navigation works

This week our team will be heading to the upper River Ant to begin riverbank tree clearance works. Tree removal will then start again in early October, continuing throughout winter with the assistance of Broadsword volunteers, before moving to the upper Bure after Christmas. 

We will also be undertaking some resurfacing work at our Coltishall 24-hour moorings in early October to improve the grass and soil levels which have become low in places.

Another major piece of work we are starting is the installation of a new 67-metre plastic boardwalk between Hoveton Viaduct Moorings and Hoveton Riverside Park. This is to replace the old wooden one which is now at the end of its life.

Water plant cutting schedule

Our team have been very busy cutting back excessive water plant growth over the last few months and this work is continuing into the autumn on the northern rivers.

So far they have cut the River Waveney twice, upper Yare and Wensum once and Whitlingham broad once. In the north (where works are still taking place) our team have been around the full circuit of upper Bure, upper Ant and upper Thurne four times.

If you see them whilst out on the water please do wave hello but remember to give room whilst the works are taking place.

As always please remember you can contact me directly if you have any questions. If you know of anyone else who would like to receive my briefings please pass on this link. 

Best wishes, 

John Packman
Chief Executive - Broads Authority
 



 

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Sounds like a lot trumpet blowing and successful box ticking execersise to me, but them I'm a synical old sod. 

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Hmmm, I wonder what the collective noun is for a group of cynical old sods is. I'm in!

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Thank you very much Alan, for posting that, but I regret I am not much inspired.  On sorting out the wheat from the chaff - or the sheep from the goats - I seem to be left with the following :

 

1/. Dredging of Hickling will continue for another winter.

2/. They are going to cut some trees on the Ant. Just the Ant?

3/. They appear to be doing about a third of the amount of bottom weed cutting that they used to do in the 60s. Now that we have better water quality, we are going to have more bottom weed!

4/. A PHD student in marine micro biology is going to spend 3 months looking at water levels. Maybe she would be better employed working out why they are not doing enough weed cutting?

5/. There will be a new plastic boardwalk to Hoveton Riverside Park. Where and what is that, or have I missed it?

6/. Other than that, at least half the report concerns National Parks, including such glib catch phrases as "Stronger purposes in law for our national landscapes" or "Reformed governance and funding models". We are even going to have "Revised procurement practices to give additional focus to environmental criteria while still achieving good value for money". Oh please! I am tired of having to wade through such a load of old squit. This is what the forum swear filter calls DAFFODILS.

7/. Boat and bat trips on the Whitlingham gravel pits have nothing to do with the Broads and I trust they are not being funded by the toll-payer.

:default_pcwhack:  :default_swordpir::default_badday:

 

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Vaughan, i think they mentioned moving the tree cutting to the upper bure after christmas, other than that its a case of read the 168 page report yourself to find out how we will erode your rights by operating under the guise of a national Park.

at least with clear water they can now see the bottom weeds,

is 3 months enough to agree that there is less clearance under potter heigham bridge than before, plus will it include the effect of dredging certain sections of river in the study?

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“Commit to purchasing all-electric vehicles except where towing capacity or 4-wheel drive demands make this impractical;”

“Install additional car charging points at Authority sites”

I would sooner see a commitment to reducing tolls back to a sensible level rather than shelling out on technology that is still very expensive and not necessary to operate the authority efficiently. 

“Review procurement practices to give additional focus to environmental criteria while still achieving good value for money.”

This can be achieved very easily by not spending money on items that are not needed or not suitable.

The BA excel at producing report after report after report that just contain clever words!

 

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2 hours ago, Vaughan said:

There will be a new plastic boardwalk to Hoveton Riverside Park. Where and what is that, or have I missed it?

At the moment there is a boardwalk (wooden) that joins the Hoveton Viaduct moorings to the ‘park’ on the other side of the railway bridge. I noticed earlier this year that it was in a bad state of repair so I suppose it is something that needs attending to. It gets a fair bit of use by anyone walking from the moorings into town. 

22 minutes ago, dnks34 said:

The BA excel at producing report after report after report that just contain clever words!

Like a lot of organisations that like to impress, it sounds good after all! As Vaughan said, glib catch phrases.

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Perhaps I didn't explain myself properly - I am not against them renewing a board walk in the least ; it is just that there didn't seem to be many other achievements to report on!

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A new boardwalk in plastic eh? Plastic!!

Still, as long as it's delivered by electric vehicles we will have ticked the enviro box :facepalm:

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44 minutes ago, JanetAnne said:

A new boardwalk in plastic eh? Plastic!!

Still, as long as it's delivered by electric vehicles we will have ticked the enviro box :facepalm:

Recycled plastic? 

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Re "cutting trees", it`s not just the Ant that needs doing. What would happen if boaters went out and cut some down themselves?. I saw several overhanging branches and twigs that were hindering navigation. If the BA don`t have the finances, or manpower, or whatever other excuse to cut them back, surely they would appreciate some "voluntary clearing"?.

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1 hour ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

surely they would appreciate some "voluntary clearing"?.

I suspect that the disposal of whatever you happen to cut down would be the problem and could well be an expensive part of any said work.

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7 hours ago, VetChugger said:

I suspect that the disposal of whatever you happen to cut down would be the problem and could well be an expensive part of any said work.

Leave it on the bank for wildlife to make use of. Down here in the West Moors Plantation, the Foerestry Commission cut down some trees and leave them on the ground to do just that, and they eventually get covered in moss and stuff, or eventually rot down to create habitat or a food source for bugs etc which birds etc feed on, and so on.  

All you need is a good saw and someone to do it. If I lived there, I'd regularly go out doing it. No need for all the discussion groups, feasibility studies and health and safety crap. 

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1 hour ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

Leave it on the bank for wildlife to make use of. Down here in the West Moors Plantation, the Foerestry Commission cut down some trees and leave them on the ground to do just that, and they eventually get covered in moss and stuff, or eventually rot down to create habitat or a food source for bugs etc which birds etc feed on, and so on.  

All you need is a good saw and someone to do it. If I lived there, I'd regularly go out doing it. No need for all the discussion groups, feasibility studies and health and safety crap. 

Quite agree Neil, when I take the dog round our local nature reserve I usually have a pair of secatures in my pocket

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The magazine of the Broads Society, Harnser, has an interesting article by Paul Savage - ‘News of the Broads Authority from a different view’. This is a snippet of it which relates to the Glover Review. 
 

97D87552-0FE0-4739-A3AC-C65293F11711.jpeg

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Nasty bile on the Internet.

Unless Im missing something I will assume that comment concerns what might get posted on the forums about the Broads Authority.  

Ive never seen anything nasty but I have seen plenty of criticism that is fair and well deserved.

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But you need all that "cr*p" for bankside work whether you like it or not!! Do you even have permission to enter that land seeing as its private, the EA insist you leave 25%  of the overhang, left to provide cover for wildlife and if you cut back too far, you actually need Forestry Commission approval! If you are doing it on behalf of someone else, I would suggest you actually need all that so called "cr*p", otherwise as sure as eggs is eggs , you will be caught out!!

Oh if life was, in actuality, as easy as some pretend!!

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Its people making everything so complicated that are adding to the cost of every little job that needs doing. 

In the private sector if a tree needs pruning is a feasibility study commissioned?  Probably not as it wont be the public paying for it.

Just check with the landowner for access permission then get on with it! 

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Having both liaised and worked with the Environment Agency in regard to the Flood Alleviation Scheme I have to say that I was hugely impressed by their sheer professionalism and get on and do it attitude. Down to earth, realistic consultation, no fannying around BA style so yes, dnks does have a point but then so does Marshman. The BA, amongst others, does appear to have contrived a bloated industry that is intent on complicating the issue. by requiring the production of a myriad pages of reports that the intended recipients don't have either the time nor the inclination to read, neverthless we now have to pander to the vanity and self importance of these often petty people. The latest, self congratulatory issue of 'Broads Authority Briefing' is written very much in that style, excess verbosity and not much real content. Bit like this comment really!

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3 hours ago, marshman said:

But you need all that "cr*p" for bankside work whether you like it or not!! Do you even have permission to enter that land seeing as its private, the EA insist you leave 25%  of the overhang, left to provide cover for wildlife and if you cut back too far, you actually need Forestry Commission approval! If you are doing it on behalf of someone else, I would suggest you actually need all that so called "cr*p", otherwise as sure as eggs is eggs , you will be caught out!!

Oh if life was, in actuality, as easy as some pretend!!

No MM, you DON`T need all the CRAP to do simple tasks. 

It`s people like you that come up with comments like that, that are allowing authority to invent situations which need bogus officialdom to prosper, purely and simply to provide employment to university graduates who have NOT in fact, graduated in real life, and real life they have very little experience of.

Many of us remember the passenger ferry operated by Freedom Boatyard, for crossing the Bure by the Ferry Inn, when they operated at Horning. Said ferry was operated by experienced personel, yet they DID`NT have a certificate of qualification. Therefore, with the required qualifications being non financially viable to obtain, they stopped the ferry service, and the public lost out. All because inexperienced officialdom thought they knew best. 

There are many tasks that are simple to accomplish, yet never get done, because of beaurocratic red tape making things to expensive, and simple things like sawing a few branches off an overhanging tree (which could quite possibly be in danger of total collapse and blocking navigation?) is only one of them.

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Hi all (Tom here, directly involved with the production of our newsletters),

1. Tree-cutting is not just taking place on the Ant, this is just what's programmed in for the coming weeks. Cutting takes place in pockets all-year round, it's just that the Ant is the current focus and was what our CME team wanted to highlight in this month's newsletter. 

As Marshman has stated we are just one partner in a complex system involving private landowners, Environment Agency, Natural England etc.  'Red tape' is there for a reason and ensures that works are undertaken properly and are in accordance with the correct regulations that we at the Authority have to abide to. It isn't just a case of anyone turning up and starting to chop down trees (and disposal is of course another part of the process to consider).

Overall, bankside management is one of those tasks where there's often more than meets the eye, and there's also lot of area to manage. Thankfully we have a pool of amazing volunteers to draw upon to help us out with the task.

If anyone has noticed any particular problem areas (and this goes for dredging and water plant growth too) simply let me know and I can personally make sure that the relevant people are made aware of it within the Authority. Most of the time we can act upon it quickly, and if not, it can be programmed in for a future time when we have the resources to deal with it.

2. Addressing comments about 'trumpet blowing' and there 'not being much to update on' - we (John and the Communications Team) produce these newsletters monthly to communicate what we're currently up to (and what we have been up to) with you, our stakeholders. We were criticised on this forum (and others) in the past for not including enough navigation/maintenance related information, so we've started to make sure that more updates on these topics are in the briefings. We try to ensure there's a balance of topics covered, and none of it is written in a way that is purposely self-aggrandising.

3. FWIW unless in specific exceptions (I can't think of any currently) the Boat and Bat trips at Whitlingham and any other tourism initiatives aren't funded by the navigation account - they're separate budgets.

If anyone has any more questions please feel free to come back to me and I'll try my best to help. Have a good evening,

Tom

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Hi Tom, 

Why are electric vehicles necessary?

As I understand it they are expensive to buy and expensive to put right if they go wrong with battery packs running into the several thousands. 

I can only assume budgets are strained with the amount the Toll has risen in the last 10 years so how can purchases like this be justified?  Surely a standard vehicle would be more cost effective?

 

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1 hour ago, BroadsAuthority said:

If anyone has noticed any particular problem areas (and this goes for dredging and water plant growth too) simply let me know and I can personally make sure that the relevant people are made aware of it within the Authority. Most of the time we can act upon it quickly, and if not, it can be programmed in for a future time when we have the resources to deal with it.

 

That offer sounds just too good to be true.

The Broads Authority has been aware for many, many years that Crome’s Dyke has been becoming more and more restricted to navigation, by vegetation on the north side (which Catfield Parish Council would be very happy to have cut back, but can’t afford to do themselves) and by reed growth from the south side (owned by the BA, who do nothing to control it). The dyke, which was once used by wherries as far as Crome’s Broad, and which leads to the remains of  Crow’s Staithe, is now, for all practical purposes, unnavigable, even by a kayak, as the accompanying photo, taken in May this year, shows.

Earlier this year, the BA took over the maintenance of the sluice and bridge near the top end of the dyke, to open up a footpath from How Hill to Crowe’s staithe. While the dyke no longer gives access to Crome’s Broad, because of the sluice, it is still part of the navigation (unless, of course, the BA allows it to become totally overgrown and silted). As recently as 4 or 5 years ago, two vessels were permanently moored in the dyke, with the permission of Catfield PC. One a day boat, the other a Cleopatra 700 (22'8" length, 8' 4" beam).

Entrance to Crome's Dyke, May 2019.JPG

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