Authority to unlock Broads funding

The Broads Authority yesterday approved efforts to unlock millions of pounds of national grant funding to conserve and enhance the environment.Members agreed to spend a large chunk of a �130,000 surplus in the Authority's general account reserves on bids to cash in on two potentially lucrative schemes.

The Broads Authority yesterday approved efforts to unlock millions of pounds of national grant funding to conserve and enhance the environment.

Members agreed to spend a large chunk of a �130,000 surplus in the Authority's general account reserves on bids to cash in on two potentially lucrative schemes.

It was decided a land management officer should be appointed at �35,000 a year, on a two-year contract, to help farmers on the Broads win funding from government-administered environmental land management schemes.

The meeting heard that making applications was complicated and the Broads currently had a lower uptake of the higher level scheme - which offered substantial payments for the conservation of biodiversity, landscape, heritage and access - than any national park.


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Encouraging farmers to improve grazing marshes as a habitat for wetland birds would be one key objective of the scheme.

The Authority also approved spending �20,000 on the work required to make two bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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Skills for the Future is a new fund of �5m intended to offer work-based training in the skills needed to look after buildings, landscapes, habitats, species and museum collections.

The Landscape Partnership Programme offers grants of between �250,000 and �2m for schemes by partnerships of local, regional and national interests which aim to conserve areas of distinctive landscape character.

The meeting was told that schemes might include mill or boat restoration and reuse, extra apprenticeships in skills crucial to the conservation of the Broads and the use of new technology to improve the availability and content of information about the Broads landscape.

Chief executive John Packman said: “In a climate of spending cuts, it was felt a good thing to invest in schemes that will potentially generate a great deal more money for the Broads.”

The Authority also agreed to look at spending money from its reserves surplus on improving paths at How Hill and Somerton and restoring the boardwalk and viewing platform at Filby Broad.

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