News story

Bringing life back to The Broads

New funding is set to transform the iconic Hoveton Great Broad in Norfolk into a clear water haven for wildlife.

Hoveton Great Broad, Norfolk © Natural England
Hoveton Great Broad, Norfolk © Natural England

The Hoveton Wetlands Restoration Project will ambitiously restore one of the large shallow lakes in The Broads that give the famous area its name.

The project has been awarded:

  • almost £2 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which recognises the important role it will play in significantly improving both the ecological condition of the broad and the access to it

  • just over £2 million from LIFE - the EU funding programme for the environment and climate action

Rick Southwood, Natural England’s Senior Reserve Manager for The Broads said:

Ecologically, Hoveton Great Broad is in poor condition, due to decades of nutrient enrichment from the surrounding catchment. However, thanks to considerable investment by the water companies and improving farming practices, the quality of water coming in from the adjacent River Bure has improved significantly and the time is now right to carry out in-lake restoration works.

Working with the Environment Agency and the Hoveton Estate, the project will:

  • significantly improve the ecological condition of Hoveton Great Broad through a combination of:
    • sediment removal to help remove nutrients and increase the depth of shallow parts of the lake
    • ‘biomanipulation’ - a deliberate alteration of an ecosystem by adding or removing species - specifically by the temporary exclusion and removal of fish to create clear water conditions in which plants can thrive
  • improve people’s enjoyment of the site by:

    • improving access to the existing nature trail, which is currently only accessible by boat
    • promoting the site and the project with activities and events in and around the area
    • providing new access with free boat trips onto the broad and the creation of a new canoe trail through the adjacent marshes

Sarah Dawkins, Natural England’s Area Manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, said:

Hoveton Great Broad is already a wonderful place, enjoyed by thousands of visitors to our nature trail every year. This funding will restore clean water and benefit wildlife. It will be easier for more people to enjoy and appreciate this special wetland once access improvements are in place.

Background

Hoveton Great Broad has a number of national and international designations protecting its wildlife and habitat. It lies within the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve, part of the Bure Broads and Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest. This in turn is part of Broadland Special Protection Area, the Broads Special Area of Conservation, and Broadland Ramsar Site.

Planning permission for the project has already been granted. Events will take place over summer 2016, with lake restoration due to commence in October 2016.

LIFE and HLF are both due to fund the project until 2020. HLF will then fund an additional 5 years of management and maintenance.

Natural England has just agreed a new lease of the site, securing further conservation management until 2040.

Published 15 January 2016