It’s again been a busy month focussed on our strategic issues facing the Broads and Wensum.
The national focus on our Water.
May saw our rivers finally getting the £10b support they need from government, but this is only the start of the journey, as fixing this will take decades after 20 years of under investment in what in many areas remain Victorian infrastructures. I have continued lobbying DEFRA on what can only be seen a poorly structured management plans right across the water industry for the continued abuse of our environment.
The Agency has confirmed that they are to reassess the environment impact to the River Bure and the licence provided to Essex and Suffolk Water for abstraction at Belaugh to supply public water outside the catchment, that I raised last month. We should all watch with interest.
Broads Environment Management
The planned stakeholder meeting to engage all Broads stakeholders has now been arranged for the 23rd June. We currently have 20 of the Broads stakeholders attending on what looks like an interesting day exploring how can we together improve the environment management across the Broads. This meeting is a result of discussions with the EA at Director level, who admits they don’t have the resources to deliver the services needed to sustain the Broads environment. Seemingly a common theme across all governance agencies. Our intention is to explore how the multitude of voluntary groups can come together to provide an enhanced environmental response team, like we have seen in the Netherlands and in Germany.
Focus on Salinity and the Freshwater Ecology
It’s great that the Broads Society with Duncan have taking on the arrangement of the conference at the UEA in November looking at salinity impacting on the Broads Freshwater Ecology and what’s needed to be done to adapt and sustain this in the medium term. Its management committee are currently arranging quest speakers and sponsors.
Last month saw the first face to face meeting of key Wensum stakeholders.
I was taken aback by the enthusiasm within the room and it just shows there is a different way in bringing people together for the better good. If a small percentage of this could be brought into the Broads governance it would make a huge difference and it’s something I spoke at length about to Trudi Harrison the government minster currently investigating the Broads Authority governance. This catchment approach applies a principle of an Interest based governance approach rather than a top down Position based governance we see from the BA.
The attendees listed and mapped 69 specific items related to the Wensum in 3 round table discussions, based around Morphology, Water Quality and Ecology. Sarah is in the process of creating electronic mapping and grouping of these, so nothing is lost. But carried forward into the working groups to progress forward. Image left is one of the story completed boards.
May also saw how a single minor pollution can expose the weaknesses in dealing with such matters. People driving on the A1067 at Sparham may have noticed the tiny pond adjacent to the road turn the colour of milk. See below.
Our engaged citizen scientists taking Phosphate measurement showed off the scale readings, so this was reported both to the EA and Anglian Water. We are currently documenting the evidence as a case study to use and demonstrate the impact from effluent can have on the environment.
If you see something like this, please report it and don’t believe it’s someone else’s problem to deal with.