Funds blow as tidal harvester plan unveiled

Plans for a device to harvest energy from the tide and protect Norfolk from coastal erosion were unveiled at a meeting of the Broads Authority in Norwich yesterday.

But on the same day it was announced that the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) that helped make the design possible would be slashed.

The Tidal Harvester would be installed offshore where it would feed electricity back to the grid and also prevent stormy weather from stripping beaches of protective sand.

Research and development firm 4NRG, based at the OrbisEnergy centre in Lowestoft, had been given a �7,500 grant last year by the authority to develop the strategy for sustainable energy creation.

A total of 181 projects have been supported with an SDF grant from the Broads Authority since it was introduced in 2002, totalling �1.57m.

It is used to fund schemes that investigate sustainable tourism or renewable energy projects.

John Packman, chief executive of the Broads Authority, said that the work was a 'great example of the sort of ground-breaking work the sustainable development fund would fund'.

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He added that in the past, money spent on the SDF had brought in a four-fold return on investment in new projects.

But future funding for similar projects was dealt a blow as members of the Broads Authority approved plans to slash the budget for the SDF from �200,000 a year to just �150,000 for the next three years.

It was also announced that a deal had been struck with South Walsham residents over public access to a slipway into the River Bure.

The slipway at South Walsham Staithe is owned by the authority and managed by South Walsham Parish Council.

Under the new proposal the barrier will remain, but eight additional keys would be made available for non-parishioners, and three for daily use.

Ken Turner, chairman of the council, said negotiations had been difficult and fractious, but that he was 'delighted' an agreement had finally been reached.