Wash Estuary Strategy Group closes as funding from across Norfolk and Lincolnshire ends

Cutbacks see two jobs go as group folds

The Wash Estuary Strategy Group is folding after more than 15 years - a victim of funding cutbacks in both Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

Two full-time posts have been lost as a result and the group's offices in Long Sutton are being cleared with charities benefiting from its assets,

The group was funded through a partnership arrangement involving a number of authorities including West Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council and South Holland District Council in Lincolnshire.

West Norfolk's contribution had been �5,200 a year towards the �40-�50,000 cost of running the group.

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But the funding has dried-up and only West Norfolk Council was left willing to financially help keep it running.

'You can't run a partnership with just one. It's a real shame. I have been involved for around eight years and the group did a lot of good work, particularly in promoting The Wash and putting together documents such as the biodiversity plan,' said Brian Long, West Norfolk Council's representative on the group.

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He said the Wash group had not been a statutory body and many local authorities had decided that they would only be funding the things they were legally compelled to as a result of cash cutbacks.

'It wasn't a statutory group, but provided a valuable role in bringing together all those that are working with The Wash and its hinterland. It was really involved with the people and held an annual conference, competition and other events,' he said.

The aim of the group was to ensure both the sustainable development and protection of the wildlife rich area, 'while benefiting the local communities dependent on The Wash,' according to its website.

The group created a Green Infrastructure Plan, identifying use, rights of way and wildlife maps of the entire Wash and its hinterland to provide help in protecting the environment when planning for future development.

Its work will be retained and the website will be kept running by former volunteer chairman Paul Espin.

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