Friday, 27 November 2015

Hickling dredging starts

Dredging has started on Hickling Broad as cold temperatures allow work to begin.

The priority dredging involves sediment being removed from the top end of the Broad near the sailing club and Parish Staithe.

This will be transported to Duck Island where it is being pumped into the lagoon created by the Authority in 2013/14.

The project aims to remove 3,000 cubic metres of sediment within 10 weeks and top up the lagoon area. The extra material being placed into the lagoons will further help the colonisation of reed and reed mace (typher).

The dredging is being carried out in accordance to the strict specification set by Natural England to ensure the vitally important habit and ecology of Hickling is protected.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Broads funding protected in Chancellor's spending review

The Broads Authority's national park grant is to be protected from cuts for the next four years, the Chancellor George Osbourne announced as part of the Government's comprehensive spending review.

The news, which came despite a 15% cut in funding to Defra, was gladly welcomed by the Authority.

Chief Executive John Packman said: "We are delighted that the funding of National Parks has been protected for the next four years.

"This demonstrates how well the Government understands and appreciates the immense value we give the country for very little investment – less than 90p per person a year.

"Not only do the 15 parks have a priceless positive impact on people’s well-being but the economic contribution from tourism and other businesses is greater than that of the UK aerospace industry."

The Authority has seen a 40% cut in real terms to its national park grant over the last six years but has worked hard to ensure this has not had a negative impact on looking after the Broads. In addition to savings from a back office restructure and moving premises, officers have increased commercial revenue and secured external funding and sponsorship.

National Parks UK is also continuing to pursue commercial sponsorship on a national level.

Campaign for National Parks Chief Executive Fiona Howie said: “It is great news that the Chancellor has listened to concerns about the future of English national parks and confirmed their funding will be protected for the rest of this Parliament.

“National parks are nationally important assets which deliver important environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits to both local communities and the nation and it’s wonderful that their value has been recognised."

Friday, 20 November 2015

Tolls set for 2016/17

Broads Authority members set navigation charges for next year today.

The charges will allow extra work to be carried out for the benefit of the boating community including practical work at Hickling Broad together with an increase in overall operational activities, such as tree clearance across the system.

The three principle uses of the income are dredging the rivers and broads, maintaining the infrastructure and facilities, particularly the network of more than 60 free 24 hour moorings, and patrolling by the Authority’s Rangers.

Members of the Authority adopted the recommendations of its Navigation Committee including the reduction in the multiplier for weekly hired craft from 2.62 to 2.55. This was in recognition of both the importance of the hire boat industry to the local economy and the pressures upon it.

The new charges mean that a small private sailing boat of 5m2 will pay an extra £2.52 for the year and a similar sized private motor boat an extra £5.04.

In cash terms the reduction in the multiplier will bring the increase for hire boats more into line with the rise for private boats. For example a 48m2 private boat will pay an extra £26.18 for the year and the same sized hire boat £32.50. If the multiplier had been left unchanged the rise for the hire boat would have been £57.69.

Overall 92% of the private boats will pay less than £20 extra per annum.

Renewal forms for the 10,000 users of the Broads navigation will be sent out next February and March in advance of the start of the new season on 1 April.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Hickling dredging - update

The Authority is still waiting for the water temperature in Hicking Broad to fall below the threshold limit of 8°C before it starts its important dredging work in the marked channel of the broad. Once it drops below 8°C, dredging will start.

Much of the plant and machinery is in place. The necessary pontoons are through Potter Bridge, to be re-assembled and loaded at Martham. The jet float to support the concrete pump pipeline has been installed within the first lagoon.

The water temperature has been consistently above 8°C, so no dredging work can take place yet. The latest weather predictions from the Met Office are that air temperatures may drop over the weekend of the 21 and 22 November which means that work could start on Monday 23 November.