A rare 200-year-old mill in the picturesque Broads countryside is set to get extra protection to stop it from being destroyed by lightning, with strikes expected to increase due to climate change. 

The owner of Mutton’s Mill in Halvergate has been given permission to install a series of ‘strike plates’ on its sails, to channel energy and prevent damage to the structure. 

The plans were given permission by the Broads Authority, which previously approved a set of extensive renovation work to the Grade II* listed mill, off the Acle Straight, in 2020. 

Planners said the work is necessary because the building, which can be seen from the popular Weaver’s Way walking route, is susceptible to strikes. 

A report to the Broads Authority’s planning committee said: “Mutton’s Mill sits on the Halvergate Marshes, within a very flat landscape.  

“It is a substantial structure and at approximately 30m high is the tallest structure within a wide area, making it vulnerable to lightning strike.  

“It is likely that the number and intensity of lightning storms is to increase in the UK due to the impact of climate change, so the risk of lightning strike is likely to increase.” 

Other mills have been struck in the past causing significant damage, including the Horsey Mill, which was struck in 1946. 

The scheme saw unanimous support from the committee. 

Eastern Daily Press: Bill DicksonBill Dickson (Image: Hugh Taylor)

Bill Dickson said: “That is absolutely fantastic, it’s ingeniously simple and unobtrusive as far as I can see.” 

The mill, which was built in the early 1830s, is rare because its internal scoop wheel, which are usually used for drainage, is the only surviving example on the Broads. 

It had ceased to work by 1946 and soon became derelict. 

By the early 1970s, the mill had lost its cap and fantail, although parts of the sails remained in position. It has received significant renovations in recent years.