A project to restore a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) on the Norfolk Broads has won unanimous approval from Broads Authority members.

The permission was granted after concerns were raised by the RSPB about the state of Catfield Fen, which lies in the Ant Valley, between Ludham and Stalham.

The works will see an excavator used to restore ditches, scraping away Sphagnum moss and additional peat to create a wet fen, with removed material deposited on the bank tops and allowed to dry and revegetate.

The green light for the restoration was given at a Friday (May 27) meeting of the authority’s planning committee, at which member Bill Dickson raised the “unsustainable levels of groundwater extractions” in the vicinity of the site.

He asked: “Shouldn’t we be dealing with the underlying cause here, which is water extraction, instead of ripping up the landscape?”

But he ultimately joined his fellow members in supporting the restoration, after an RSPB officer assured him that the scale of the works proposed was relatively modest and that progress was being made on stopping water extraction from the fen over the coming years.