Broads Forum – meeting 7th October 2010
Spending Review – National Park Grant. The advice received from Defra is that the Broads Authority should plan for a 30% reduction in National Park Grant. This would mean a cut back in the Grant of £1.48M over the next 4 years at today’s values, on top of the 5% cut imposed on this year’s grant. Expenditure equal to the income from river tolls on boat owners has to be spent on the maintenance of the navigation area (dredging, maintenance of moorings and other facilities, and patrolling, advice, and public safety) and is not included in the Defra grant considerations.
The Broads Authority have produced draft plans to restructure to enable vital services, projects, and facilities to be maintained, and a number of savings, notably in staffing changes, premises, maintenance of public rights of way, staff travel and vehicles, etc., have had to be included in the restructuring proposals. The Broads Authority members will consider the revised organisational structure on 19th November 2010, and approve changes to staffing on 21st January 2011.
St Benet's Abbey Project. Proposals for access, funding and site improvements will be included in the Round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund which the Norfolk Archaeological Trust will submit in February 2011, for decision in June. The Broads Forum will have a presentation by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust at their next meeting on 10th February 2011.
Broads Forum Meeting Venues. To encourage public attendance at Broads Forum meetings, a proposal to hold at least 1 meeting (possibly 2) in 2011 at a parish location was accepted. Although holding the Forum’s meetings in alternative locations would increase costs, the benefits of further engagement with local communities could justify the expense.
Broads Authority Peat Project. A report by the Conservation Officer set out the ever increasing value of peatlands for wildlife conservation and climate change mitigation. It highlights the fundamental role of the Broads peat resource in supporting and conserving key habitats and species, as well as providing additional services as a greenhouse gas store. The report demonstrates the key role the Broads Authority has undertaken to set out the framework for understanding and restoring degraded peat habitats in the Broads, feeding into national peat studies and raising awareness through local school peat projects.
Hickling Broad. Concern was expressed at the levels of pollution currently experienced at Hickling Broad and some of the surrounding dykes, rivers and reed beds. The pollution appears to have destroyed all water weed and consequently there has been a complete lack of water birds. Officers were requested to monitor the situation and endeavour to identify the source or cause of the pollution.