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Protest grows over lost Broads island

PUBLISHED: 11:48 31 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2010

ANGLERS have vowed to step up their protests after the completion of the first stage of a controversial project to recreate a lost Broads "island".

The Broads Authority views the scheme at the entrance to Duck Broad, near Hickling - building up land using mesh cages filled with spoil - as a convenient way of disposing of dredged material.

ANGLERS have vowed to step up their protests after the completion of the first stage of a controversial project to recreate a lost Broads “island”.

The Broads Authority views the scheme at the entrance to Duck Broad, near Hickling - building up land using mesh cages filled with spoil - as a convenient way of disposing of dredged material.

And the Authority's director of waterways, Trudi Wakelin, said she was “thrilled” at the success of their initial trial to create a small island over the summer using 1,000 cubic metres of sediment dredged from Heigham Sound.

However, members of Norwich and district Pike Club (NDPC) fear that disturbing sediment could trigger an outbreak of the deadly algae prymnesium parva which decimated fish stocks in the Thurne system in 1969.

Following a conference attended by 300 anglers at Sewell Park College in Norwich on Sunday, they sent a warning to the Broads Authority that they would launch strong protests at any attempt to implement the full scheme to create an island 240m long and 40m wide.

NDPC committee member John Currie said: “We feel that it would be absolutely catastrophic to carry on. Every day they are touching that sediment there is a real risk of it causing an algal bloom that would have a devastating effect on the tourism economy, from shops to hotels and chalet owners.”

He said that some anglers were now threatening to “take the law into their hands” if the Broads Authority pressed ahead. Ms Wakelin said: “Water quality was tested in three locations on a daily and weekly basis and all the indications point to there having been no elevated levels of prymnesium during the period of the work.”

She said the island would be monitored for a year to see if it was actually possible to promote reedbed growth around it. If Natural England, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority's planning committee then agreed, work could start on enlarging it during the early part of 2012.

She highlighted the need to dredge Heigham Sound to stop sailing cruisers going aground.

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