The EA gave us notice of a new submission flood risk permit application from Natural England has been received for the implementation of fish barriers on Hoveton Great Broad. See message below.
As part of our determination process for the Hoveton Great Broad Restoration project, we are notifying you that we have deemed the new flood risk activity permit application from Natural England as duly made. This is the formal process by which the Environment Agency accepts the application for determination.
We will be in contact again shortly, and ahead of the public consultation with further detail on how you can submit your view.
Please feel free to share this email to others who you feel may be interested in putting forward their views.
Customers & Engagement Team,
East Anglia Area
Environment Agency | Iceni House, Cobham Road, Ipswich IP3 9JD
In response to this, we replied the following.
Your reference HGB Restoration Project – New Flood Risk Activity Permit Application
18th Feb 2021
Thank you for your email dated 15 February which notifies us that the application for a Flood Risk Activity Permit (“FRAP”) has been made by Natural England for the installation of three fish barriers at the entrances to Hoveton Great Broad (‘HGB’) and Hudson’s Bay (‘HB’).
As you will be aware, the Angling Trust (‘AT’) and the Broads Angling Services Group (‘BASG’) successfully challenged the EA’s decision to grant Natural England a FRAP permit dated 23 July 2020 for the same three barriers, and the FRAP was subsequently quashed by the High Court.
The EA Fisheries team’s view of the project, although not made public until a late disclosure by the EA, was categorical: that the project would harm the fishery.
That also appears to be the view of others involved in assessing the project including world leading fishery scientists within the IFM, Emily Winters PhD thesis, which provided the core underlying data for the area FBG team’s stance.
BASG and AT’s view remains that this will cause lasting damage to the fishery and should not be approved.
Nevertheless, it appears that Natural England wish to press on with this project.
In order, therefore, to ensure that the application process is lawful, the EA will need to consider the following:
1. That the EA complies with Schedule 27 of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016 vis a vis the publication of documents and public access (key documents were not published in the last application);
2. As the current fisheries team view is that the barriers will cause a deterioration in the fish element of the WFD status of the waterbody, the EA will need to be sure that it complies with Article 4(7) of the Directive;
3. That the EA fisheries team is fully engaged and that its advice is made publicly available in the process of consultation;
4. That the EA fisheries team’s views are treated as determinative of the issues and not substituted with the views of non-experts working with the applicant;
5. That the EA takes into account that NE has undertaken not to proceed with the biomanipulation should the fisheries team believe that the development will damage the fishery (see Environmental Statement 2014);
We enclose a letter from the Broads Authority dated 7th January. The planning permission was granted on the basis that it complies with the conditions, which incorporate the Environmental Statement 2014.
We would be grateful if the process for commenting on the application could be clarified and that the AT be notified as it appears that they have not yet received warning of the subsequent application.
Lastly we understand that moves are in progress to re-establish and repair the PIT tagging receiver arrays deployed across the Northern Broads. These are critical within any understanding on fish stocks and behaviours and provide a return on the many thousands of pounds of rod licence invested into tracking fish within the Northern Broads. Most importantly, no decision on the application should be made until the data from these receivers is reviewed as they provide evidence of the fish migration into the broads.
Chairman BASG CIC
CC BASG Directors, Angling Trust & Fish Legal