New boss ‘keen to take things to next level’ as he takes helm at rivers trust

Brendan Joyce, director of Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust, at Pope's Marsh Picture: ANDY CROUCH

Brendan Joyce, director of Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust, at Pope's Marsh Picture: ANDY CROUCH - Credit: Archant

Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust has appointed a new director in a move to expand its work and to raise its profile.

Brendan Joyce OBE – who has 30 years’ experience of working in the voluntary nature conservation sector – took up the role in March 2020 amid the coronavirus lockdown.

He was chief executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust for 23 years, overseeing significant developments including several major land acquisitions, the building of a visitor and education centres at Cley Marshes and Weeting Heath and the expansion of the Trust’s education programmes.

MORE – Stockbrokers and film producers among new intake for ‘Vine Army’Mr Joyce said he was “delighted” to take up the role.

“Established in 2014, the trust has done a great deal of valuable work on river restoration, natural flood management and improving water quality on a number of rivers in Essex and Suffolk,” he said.

“Appreciating these are extremely challenging times for us all, I am keen to take things to the next level, to increase our capabilities, undertake further vital conservation work in the river catchments and establish a higher profile within the two counties.”

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He revealed that having had a life-saving liver transplant 10 years ago – and now fit and well – he fits into a high-risk category, which means he must be “shielded” during lockdown, which came into force 10 days into his role.

“In line with government advice, I have been staying at home and have not yet been able to get out and about meeting people and looking at potential new projects. I recognise that everyone is experiencing huge difficulties and, in many cases, heart-breaking losses in these distressing times.

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“For me, it has been a very strange situation in which to start a new job, but information technology has enabled me to maintain contact and keep our work going.”

A key part of the trust’s work has been delivering two major projects under the European Union (EU) Topsoil project. The first project, in the Sandlings area of East Suffolk, has involved Managed Aquifer Recharge trials to replenish water in the aquifer by creating an underground reservoir using winter spray irrigation. The second project centres on Layer Brook river in Essex, which feeds into Abberton Reservoir, part of which has become silted and polluted. Survey and sampling work was undertaken to establish the sources of the problem and find ways to mitigate the effects.

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