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Broads gets £630,000 of European cash to restore Hickling Broad reed beds

PUBLISHED: 22:39 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 22:39 11 October 2017

Hickling Broad. Picture: James Bass

Hickling Broad. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A European-funded project will allow the Broads Authority to continue restoring areas of eroded reed bed at Hickling Broad.

Andrea Kelly, senior ecologist at the Broads Authority. Picture: Supplied Andrea Kelly, senior ecologist at the Broads Authority. Picture: Supplied

This week key international partners from Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Great Britain met in the Broads to kick off a new £5m project.

The match-funded Canape (Creating A New Approach to Peatland Ecosystems) project will give the Broads Authority £630,000 from the European Regional Development Fund to continue delivering the ‘Hickling Vision’.

The project will see innovative geo-textile materials used to form a wall into which sediments dredged from Hickling will be pumped and then planted with local reeds.

The funding will also aim to use healthy peatlands in the Broads to help regulate global climate change as the peatland naturally absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere when correctly maintained.

Taken early in the morning at Hickling Broad when the light was just breaking. Taken early in the morning at Hickling Broad when the light was just breaking.

It is also seen as an opportunity for people working in the Broads to transfer new and innovative concepts about managing lowland peatlands across the North Sea region of Europe.

Partners will improve how to assess lake and peatland restoration options, as well as examining the benefits of peatlands, including flood storage and carbon capture.

They will also explore the creation of future jobs by the development of new wetland products and the economic benefits this approach could produce.

Senior ecologist for the Broads Authority Andrea Kelly said: “This is an opportunity to share our experiences with the CANAPE partners and benefit from working across borders with people who are experienced in similar issues.

Comer-based fabrics producer Structure-Flex has made a pair of giant PVC curtains to help restore a reedbed on Hickling Broad, as part of a conservatyion project by the Broads Authority. Picture: Structure-Flex Comer-based fabrics producer Structure-Flex has made a pair of giant PVC curtains to help restore a reedbed on Hickling Broad, as part of a conservatyion project by the Broads Authority. Picture: Structure-Flex

“We aim to test new approaches to gain wider benefits of peatlands, including carbon and water management, as well as new potential economic benefits.”

Peter Hahn, from the Ministry of Environment and Food in Denmark, said: “This is a valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge and most importantly to have a really positive impact upon climate change.”

The Canape project is seen as an opportunity for the Broads Authority to share its knowledge of lowland peatland management with its European partners.

The event is the beginning of a long-term conservation partnership.

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