Chalk rivers from King’s Lynn to Mundesley to benefit from �1,3 million funding boost

A project to improve the quality of nine chalk rivers in north and north west Norfolk has been awarded a �1.3 million grant by DEFRA.

The Babingley, Gaywood, Glaven and Stiffkey rivers have already been the focus of restoration effort in recent years and, together with the Burn, Heacham, Hun, Ingol and Mun, will now benefit from further work to improve natural functioning, enhance water quality and improve habitats.

A partnership of Norfolk-based environmental groups, statutory bodies and community groups is behind the three-year Nine Chalk Rivers Project, which seeks to improve rivers in the 62-mile long and 15-mile wide Norfolk Coast catchment area from King's Lynn to Mundesley.

They hope to secure the long-term future of the rivers by creating self-sustaining groups, which will take-over river management beyond the funding period.

Mark Watson, of Norfolk Rivers Trust, which is involved in the partnership, said: 'Winning this large grant will allow our partnership to take a systematic approach to river restoration across north and west Norfolk. Our work will help secure cleaner, cheaper drinking water, sustain food production and allow rare chalk river species to flourish. These actions will benefit everyone that lives in the catchments as well as those that come on holiday to enjoy these special landscapes.'

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The ecologically valuable chalk rivers of the Norfolk coast have been subject to increasing pressures, resulting in degradation of habitats and ecology, poor water quality and quantity, siltation, invasion from non-native species and reduction in fish stocks.

The project will adopt a catchment-wide approach to a broad range of water resource, flood risk and water quality management issues.

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Estelle Hook, of the Norfolk Coast Partnership, which is responsible for managing the Norfolk area of outstanding natural beauty, said: 'These rivers are treasures of the Norfolk Coast and this project will restore and enhance their wild beauty and precious natural qualities.'

The first phase of the project will focus on improvements to the Babingley, Gaywood, Glaven and Stiffkey and to plan and prepare for similar work on the Burn, Heacham, Hun, Ingol and Mun. The improvement work on the latter five rivers will be part of an additional programme, which will be the focus of a second Catchment Restoration Fund application.

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