Muddy hell over dumped silt

TWO of the region's environmental groups are currently involved in a messy row over a large pile of mud being dumped beside a waterway.Suffolk Wildlife Trust has locked horns with the Broads Authority after sticky silt was dumped close to a waterway in north Suffolk.

TWO of the region's environmental groups are currently involved in a messy row over a large pile of mud being dumped beside a waterway.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has locked horns with the Broads Authority after sticky silt was dumped close to a waterway in north Suffolk.

The silt, about one metre thick and roughly the size of a football pitch, has been dumped on a county wildlife site at Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, next to one of the trust's nature reserves.

The incident follows a routine dredging operation carried out by the Broads Authority's navigation department.


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Suffolk Wildlife Trust officials have been negotiating with the Broads Authority about the dumping of silt for at least three years.

"We are disappointed that a mutually acceptable and sustainable solution to this problem has not been agreed," said SWT reserves manager Steve Aylward.

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"The leaching of nutrients into the dyke network and invasive plant seeds within the silt will permanently damage the county wildlife site and affect the adjacent Oulton Marshes reserve which a Heritage Lottery grant has only recently allowed us to restore.

"This can only be a short term fix. The dumping of silt on fenland habitat simply isn't a long term solution," he said.

Mr Aylward appealed for the Broads Authority to stop dumping silt in the area.

"Suffolk Wildlife Trust would like work to stop and for the Broads Authority to restore the area that has been damaged.

The site is considered special for birds such as the Cetti's warbler and scarce plants including marsh pea and marsh sowthistle.

The Broads Authority has defended its work and believes that it will lead to long-term environmental improvements to the area.

Trudi Wakelin, assistant director of field services with the authority, said it took a lease on Horseshoe Bend at the approach to Oulton Broad 18 months ago to develop a much-needed free 24-hour mooring.

"It will provide free visitor access by boat to Oulton Broad and will fill the gap in the Broads Authority's 24 hour mooring network on the River Waveney," she said.

The work involves raising the level of the rond, which currently disappears underwater at high water, in order to make it suitable for mooring.

"We are also leasing an area of marsh on the site of the old Dutch Tea Gardens which will allow us to provide facilities for recreation, conservation enhancement and disposal of dredgings.

"All other relevant parties, including Oulton Parish Council, Waveney District Council and the Environment Agency have supported the work which will result in long-term environmental gain," said Ms Wakelin.

The Broads Authority leased the site after Suffolk Wildlife Trust and English Nature decided to prevent access to the historic disposal site where Oulton Broad dredgings have been deposited for the last 40 years.

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