To All Members and Members of Staff, Volunteers, Parish Councils and Stakeholders
Good Afternoon Everyone,
Last week was busy with meetings, including the Broads Authority’s Annual Meeting, so this week has provided the opportunity to catch up on various things and start preparation for events in the Autumn.
The Authority’s Annual Meeting was held on 28th July when Jacquie Burgess and Peter Dixon were re-appointed as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Authority and important documents such as the Statement of Accounts were signed off. Our finances are subject to oversight by both Internal (somewhat of a misnomer as it is an external service) and External Audit and on the Tuesday both sets of auditors expressed satisfaction with the Accounts and the Authority’s governance arrangements and congratulated our small finance team on the quality of their work. The highlight of the Annual Meeting was a presentation by Prof. Tom Williamson from UEA on the subject of staithes. This may seem a rather dry subject but Tom brings it alive giving a fascinating insight into their status and the responsibility for their upkeep. His report will be available shortly.
Broads Plan 2017
Last week we launched the new Broads Plan with a small celebration at Whitlingham Country Park with some of our key partners (photo attached). The Plan is for the Broads as a whole and its delivery is in the hands of all the relevant public, private and voluntary bodies involved in the protection and enhancement of this precious landscape and its enjoyment by the public.
This partnership strategy sets out the ambitions and actions for the next five years under eight themes:
Managing water resources and flood risk;
Sustaining landscapes for biodiversity and agriculture;
Maintaining and enhancing the navigation;
Conserving landscape character and the historic environment;
Offering distinctive recreational experiences;
Raising awareness and understanding;
Connecting and inspiring people; and
Building ‘climate-smart’ communities.
We are posting out copies of the Plan to relevant organisations and all the parish clerks. If you would like a copy please send me an email with your address and we will post one to you.
The Broads continues to throw up surprises. In case you missed the press, I wanted to let you know of the fantastic news that a nationally rare beetle, the Black Longhorn, was discovered at How Hill at the end of June (photo attached). The species had never been recorded in Norfolk and Suffolk before this other than at Sutton Fen a year ago. One was first seen feeding at How Hill on the 27 June then shortly after a breeding site was discovered in a section of bark on the 9 July. This helps illustrate just how fantastic the Broads National Park is for biodiversity and is a real success story of how effective land and ecosystem management can help rare species thrive.
We have all been encouraged to report any sightings to Martin Collier by emailing email@example.com.
Acle Bridge Moorings
Today, (4 August 2017), we have completed the purchase of 620 metres of river frontage at Acle Bridge. 200 metres of the river bank is piled and the majority is in reasonable condition. Just over 40 metres will need attention sooner rather than later. The value of this location is that we shall be able to provide free 24 hour moorings for visitors together with a demasting solution for Acle Bridge. The site has further potential, as and when funds become available, to provide additional facilities such as waste disposal, pump-out of chemical toilets, car parking and possibly a slipway. The buildings on the site are tired and in a neglected state, and over the coming weeks we will be assessing what to do with them.
On Wednesday our 3 university interns gave a presentation on the two projects they have undertaken for us. George and Jake have done a fantastic job in developing an Android App for the Rangers to check boat information on their phones. This includes emojis – smiley or sad faces (see attached) – indicating whether a boat has paid a toll and has a boat safety certificate. Meghan has equally completed a very impressive analysis of the training needs for our volunteers and come up with a plan for us to implement. I was delighted to hear that their placement with us had been a real success from their point of view. As well as completing valuable tasks which we hadn’t found the resources for, it was great having young people around the office. We are hoping to have more interns next year, perhaps working in other areas.
An incident at Stokesby involving a group of young men has prompted press coverage regarding anti-social behaviour on the Broads. The debate that has followed has underlined that it is not a simple matter. Most visitors do not cause or experience such incidents but when it does happen it can cause great offence. Nor are such incidents confined just to single sex parties or hired motor cruisers. The hirers of day boats and owners of private boats can also be at fault. The members of the Broads Authority decided to set up a short term working group to look at the issue and we are looking for a date in September to bring the relevant parties together. If you do experience any serious incidents of such behaviour please ring the Police on 101.
Last week we passed the milestone of 12,000 boats tolled for the year with both private and hire boats numbers currently up on 2016. This is the time of the year when we are chasing owners whose boats have been seen on the Broads but have not paid a toll. Currently we have just over 200 cases we are dealing with. Most of these will get resolved sooner or later and just a few will require us to resort to court proceedings. (Last year we prosecuted 25 boat owners for non-payment of tolls).
Today is Andrea’s last day with us as Director of Planning and Resources. She will be greatly missed. We wish her and Robert all the best in their new life in Yorkshire. Marie-Pierre Tighe takes up her Director role with us on 18th September.
Anyone can now sign up to receive this monthly briefing by visiting the following link, so please pass it on to those who you think might be interested.
If you are going away in August have a great time. I am off to the Brecon Beacons for a week.
Broads Authority – looking after the Broads National Park
Broads Authority, Yare House, 62-64 Thorpe Road. Norwich NR1 1RY