How a giant pair of curtains is helping restore a treasured Norfolk Broads habitat

Cromer-based fabrics producer Structure-Flex has made a pair of giant PVC curtains to help restore a

Cromer-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 conservation project by the Broads Authority. Picture: Structure-Flex - Credit: Supplied

Conservationists attempting to restore a Norfolk Broads wildlife haven have stumbled on an unconventional solution – giant plastic curtains.

The Broads Authority enlisted fabric manufacturer Structure-Flex to design a 170m pair of floating curtains for a conservation project to save a badly eroded reedbed on Hickling Broad.

They were produced as part of a programme of novel geotextiles and engineering techniques to help rebuild the sensitive margin habitat.

The PVC silt curtains will work to deter growing numbers of greylag geese, which are increasing the erosion of the reedbed by eating young plants, while also providing a barrier against the wind and waves.

Paul Reeve, managing director of Cromer-based Structure-Flex, said: 'We have vast experience of producing products that work in difficult environments from marine to deserts and even the Antarctic.

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'Previously, we manufactured floating silt curtains for the Broads Authority to assist them with their dredging work so it was good to be able to extend the knowledge learned in that project to find a pretty unique solution to this particular problem.'

Dan Hoare, head of construction, maintenance and environment at the Broads Authority, said: 'The protection of existing reedbed areas for rare and threatened wildlife is an important part of the enhancement work being undertaken at Hickling.'

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The programme is part of a wider plan developed by the Upper Thurne Working Group to enhance the broad for wildlife and water users, which is being delivered through a three-year project scheduled to end in 2018.

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