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Walkers hope to save reserve

PUBLISHED: 16:19 05 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 July 2010

Dominic Bareham

CAMPAIGNERS hope to raise awareness of their opposition to plans to allow parts of north Norfolk to be flooded by holding a walk in a nature reserve that is likely to be lost.

CAMPAIGNERS hope to raise awareness of their opposition to plans to allow parts of north Norfolk to be flooded by holding a walk in a nature reserve that is likely to be lost.

The organisation Norfolk Netwalking is calling for residents and business owners to turn out in force for the trek through Hickling Nature Reserve on Tuesday.

The aim is to bring attention to government body Natural England's so-called “Option 4” which would allow a 25 square miles of the Broads and six villages to be surrendered to the sea over the next 50 years, including the reserve.

Eric Lindo, chairman of Hickling Parish Council, who will be involved with the walk, said: “It will enable people to get a better idea of what what stands to be lost to the nation.”

Norfolk Netwalking organises walks to enable business people to meet each other in a less formal setting, encouraging them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Mr Lindo said he had not received a reply from a letter he sent to Natural England chairman Sir Martin Doughty two weeks ago asking to meet him in person to discuss the situation over the flood plans. He said he wanted to put an end to the “bad feeling” over Option 4 between the campaigners with homes under threat and Natural England.

On Monday, Mr Lindo said: “He has spurned the offer of a meeting, and I have written to Natural England again today. If he didn't want to meet, he could have at least given me the courtesy of a reply.”

Last week, the Mercury reported how representatives of the coalition Save Our Broads, set up to fight Natural England's plans, had collected 2,790 signatures from holidaymakers for a petition against the proposals. The group held a stall outside Latham's superstore in Potter Heigham.

A second petition of fishermen will be held at the staithe near Potter Heigham bridge on June 16 to coincide with the start of the fishing season.

If Option 4 goes ahead, the villages lost could include Hickling, Potter Heigham, Horsey, Sea Palling, Waxham and Eccles. But campaigners want money to be spent bolstering the sea wall between Eccles and Winterton to provide an effective barrier.

The other three options on the table include doing nothing, letting nature take its course, holding the line and maintaining the existing defences and adapting the line by moving coastal defences slightly inland.

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