Thursday, 20 November 2014

Hickling Broad work update

By John Packman, Chief Executive

Last week I convened a meeting of all the staff involved in Hickling to monitor our progress on a number of projects.

I know there is a great deal of interest in the future of our largest broad and as there are various complex elements to this I have included below a briefing on our current work and the planned programme to update on how we are progressing on the projects involved.

Large scale Hickling restoration long-term project

Officers have started work on developing a large scale project for Hickling looking at a multi-beneficial approach, involving erosion protection, island creation and channel dredging. The latest hydrographic survey data suggests that at least 40,000m3 of sediment contained in the navigation channel needs be removed (between Deep-Go Dyke and the Parish Staithe) together with 5000m3 from Catfield Dyke. Due to the migration of sediment, dredging of the channel would be required over a number of years to restore it to the specified depth of 1.5m.

A large scale dredging project needs to begin with pinpointing a dredging disposal site and location of one is currently underway. The Navigation Committee will need to be consulted to gauge its views on progressing with the channel dredging and where it lies within the current programme’s priorities. Bank restoration is also being investigated. All works will require Natural England and Norfolk Wildlife Trust consent.

Shorter term

A small scale dredging project for delivery in 2015/16 is being developed to address the siltation being experienced at the top end near the Pleasure Boat dyke and by the sailing club. Approximately 600 to 1000m3 of sediment could be removed with the disposal option being sourced locally. A further removal of 750m3 is also being planned at the mouth of Catfield Dyke. This project would rely on contractors removing the sediment and depositing it the identified areas, likely to be Duck Island and locally at a planned erosion protection site.

This project would address recent siltation concerns expressed by the sailing club and Parish Council, but will only provide some short term assistance. Our current work programme is fully committed and we will need to use contractors if we want to carry out the project this year. Given the high priority set for this by the Navigation Committee we are doing our best to bring the work forward to 2014/15 which may lead to a small overspend.

In development

A small scale erosion protection scheme located near Hill Common is in the development phase. Planning permission will be required and landowner consent needed. The objective is to repair some localised erosion, allowing a small quantity of dredged material to be reused and allow reed marsh to develop.

Joint funding options

We are in the very early stages of investigating a potential EU project bid. This project is in its infancy but looks to have considerable potential. If, following further investigation, the Authority decided to develop a bid for this funding, then staff work programmes in 2015/16 would need significant amendment to make space.

Summary

2014/15

• Negotiations with a local landowner on the availability of land for the disposal of dredged material underway. If successful then the Navigation Committee will be consulted on priorities. Discussions with Norfolk Wildlife Trust also ongoing.

• Small scale dredging project being developed ready for potential delivery this winter.

• Small scale erosion protection project in development at Hill Common for delivery in early 2015 if permissions and agreements secured.

• Further exploration of the potential EU project bid.

2015/16 to 2016/17

• Development of larger longer-term project subject to outcome of dredging disposal site location.

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