The broad where still waters will run de

A little-known broad is to be restored to life over the next few months.Work has started to pump out mud at Barnby Broad, between Beccles and Lowestoft, to enable water plants, molluscs and birds to thrive.

A little-known broad is to be restored to life over the next few months.

Work has started to pump out mud at Barnby Broad, between Beccles and Lowestoft, to enable water plants, molluscs and birds to thrive.

It is the first time the whole broad has ever been dredged, meaning there is just a foot of water left above the mud.

Over the next three months 9,000 cubic metres of sediment will be pumped out, and the agricultural run-off that has caused problems at the broad will be diverted away.

The team behind the project

hopes that water lilies, pond lilies

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and rare stoneworts will return,

in turn providing a home for

fish and attracting more birdlife.

It is the first big job for the Broads Authority's mud pump since its major refit, which gave it a new pumping mechanism and wheelhouse.

It has a set of wheels so it can be pushed into the water at remote sites such as Barnby where the ground is too soft for heavy lifting machinery.

The pump sucks up the mud, pushes it along an 800-metre pipe and deposits it on a field, which will be restored to grazing marsh.

Dan Hoare, conservation officer for the authority, said: "It is not a big area: it is just quite a job because there is so much mud. The southern half of the broad was dredged about 20 years ago, but the northern half has never been done, so we are finishing the job.

"When you have got very shallow water, water plants cannot grow because they end up close to the surface and the young plants get nibbled by ducks. You just end up

with bare mud in shallow water.

"Once you have got a depth of water, the plants grow, you get invertebrates living there and it attracts waterfowl and fish. The whole ecosystem improves."

He said that although the six-acre, privately-owned broad was little-known, it was important for conservation. Flocks of wigeon over- winter there, and there are orchids in the marsh woodland nearby.

Mr Hoare said: "It is one of the more remote sites we work on, which is why it is so important for the conservation aspect. There are not many open water broads along the Waveney, so it is very important in the Waveney area."