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Norfolk Broads waterways set to benefit from £500k funding

Posted on May 20, 2024

A key piece of equipment used to maintain the region’s waterways is to be replaced following a major funding boost.

The cash will go towards purchasing a new concrete pump for the Broads Authority – a vital tool in its dredging operations.

The £173,000 tool will be used to remove sediment from the rivers to keep them navigable.

It follows the Broads Authority being granted £500,000 by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Some of the remaining money will be put towards a new boat and two new jeeps for its rangers, as well as a tool to remove weeds and welfare huts for its staff.

Defra’s funding comes in the form of £250,000 in capital grants – to be used for one-off purchases – and £250,000 in revenue, which can be spent to support the BA’s ongoing costs.

At a recent meeting, members praised the confirmation of the extra cash which follows the BA lobbying the government to change how it funds national parks.

Boats on the River Thurne at Potter Heigham

It wants more money to be made available that can be used to support the maintenance of the waterways for navigation.

Currently, it has to rely on income from toll fees from Broads boaters to cover this expense.

But it is having to raise toll fees year after year to meet rising costs caused by inflation and climate change, causing frustration for boaters.

Dredging work taking place by May Gurney on Fleet Dyke close to the River Bure at St Benets Abbey on the Norfolk Broads

This has led to a rift on the Broads between two groups: the so-called Navvies, who think the BA should focus more on the needs of navigation and the Parkies, who are more concerned about the Authority’s national park responsibilities, such as conservation and tourism.

The funding also follows recent scrutiny of the BA and Environment Agency’s management of the River Bure, with critics claiming a lack of dredging there could be contributing to flooding in the Broads.

An investigation is currently under way at a key section of the river near Great Yarmouth, known as the Bure Hump, which is known to be silting up.


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