“The Environment Bill is currently making its way through Parliament and we have a once in a generation chance to put the weight of the law behind protecting nature. The Wildlife Trusts have written to the Prime Minister asking that the Environment Bill is strengthened to legally bind the Government to reverse wildlife declines by 2030.”
The Trusts ask you to sign their petition to the Prime Minister calling for a legal guarantee for nature’s recovery by 2030. Sign to show you want our wildlife to be better protected.
Anthony Caro’s “Goodwood Steps” has been offered to the Sainsbury Centre on a three-year loan from the Anthony Caro studio. The Sculpture is a large steel structure 33 metre long and 6.5 metre high. April 2021 is the projected installation date.
The intended site for the sculpture is on the open grass parkland beside the University Broad and facing the Ziggurats between Norfolk and Suffolk Terrace. “The placement of this work in proximity to the Lasdun buildings has been specifically selected to resonate and form a powerful echo or reflection of the Ziggurat architecture.”
The Planning Application for the Sculpture can be viewed on the Norwich Planning Website and searching under reference 21/00124/F. Any comments you have should be with Norwich Planning Department by 26th February 2021.
The Yare Valley Society has concerns about the intrusion of this large structure into the open green grassland space so close to the Broad. YVS will ask for it to be positioned further away from the Broad and closer to the ziggurats.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is currently used to compare the wealth and growth of national economies is increasing recognised as seriously flawed for this purpose. The blind spot in this measure is that it almost completely ignores the rate at which a nation’s natural resources are being depleted, and its biodiversity is being degraded. The Dasgupta Review, commissioned by the UK Treasury and published today argues, that better economic measures need to be in place to avoid catastrophe for our planet.
You will be relieved to know there is an abridged version of the report as well as the full report. Both are available here.
What are the economic assets of the Yare Valley that might be more highly valued? The present flooding of the Valley shows its ability to store large quantities of water and so reduce flooding and damage downriver. Its vegetation also helps by slowing the rate of water run-off. At all times the Valley is a key wildlife corridor for flora and fauna; and its wetlands act as a carbon sink. To add to all this are the mental and physical health benefits its green space ecosystems confer upon us all (See p 24 of abridged version of review). This should surely add up to a tidy sum.
Covid19 takes up almost all the news space at the moment, and many important issues are not getting the attention they deserve. We all need to make the ideas in this review more widely known, and help to ensure that it is a real milestone on our way to a sustainable future. Safeguarding and extending our green space has economic value!
The Greater Norwich Local Plan will go forward for a six week Regulation 19 publication period, which will start at 09.00 on Monday 1 February 2021 and close at 17.00 on Monday 15 March 2021. No representations will be accepted outside of this period. See Consultations.
At a Zoom meeting today, the South Norfolk District Council Development Committee approved plans for the extension of the Colney Burial site. The extension borders on the River Yare and the Bowthorpe fishing lakes. It takes the form of a narrow strip close to the river connecting to a larger area to the east of the existing site
At the meeting Colney Parish and the Yare Valley Society expressed concerns before approval was given.
The Yare Valley Society pushed for the Development to safeguard, and where possible enhance, the landscape character of the valley, and for there to be no risk of pollution to the river from the burial site. Colney Parish drew particular attention to the regularity of flooding of some of the site from the river, and the increased pollution that could result.
By a vote of 4 to 1 approval was given subject to a number of conditions that went part way to addressing concerns.
Protection of the landscape and ecology will be addressed by a Landscape and Woodland Management Plan. This will include a commitment to increase the proportion of native trees and to safeguard local wildlife. The protection of a heronry will be included in the plan.
The pollution issue is complex. The Tier Two Groundwater Risk Assessment Survey for the site concluded the site to be high risk with the close proximity of the River Yare contributing significantly to the overall risk.
The Environmental Agency, as recently as November 2019, reported the Yare had unacceptable levels of chemical pollution, and that targets for improvement are likely to be missed. YVS argued that now is not the time to be accepting further pollution of our rivers by new developments. Adding more pollution to the river would not bring the pollution problem under control and would result in further damage to our river ecosystems. Flooding would add a further unknown in assessing the likelihood of river pollution.
The approval was given subject to groundwater monitoring of the site, and a flood evacuation plan being in place.
The YVS continues to be concerned about possible contamination of the river and the effectiveness of monitoring. On the positive side, an effective implementation of a Landscape and Woodland Plan should safeguard the visual attractiveness and the ecology of this part of the Valley for the foreseeable future.
Please note that an Eastern Daily Press article on the decision entitled “The hearses will have to go on boats” should have given the correct names of the representatives of Colney Parish and the Yare Valley Society as Bee Korn and John Elbro respectively.
After his survival from the floods the Man of Stones can truly be said to be immersed in his environment. He forms part of the University of East Anglia Sainsbury Centre’s Sculpture Park, and stands between the River and the University Broad. The River and the Broad became as one in the floods.
Routine safety checks of the Mathematical Bridge on the UEA Campus by a structural engineer has revealed that some of its foundations have been damaged by the recent flooding of the River Yare.
The UEA Estates & Facilities Division have decided to close the bridge until further notice for the safety of the public. Signage is being placed at various points entry points to the UEA Campus to warn of the closure. It hopes to put in other signage for a diversion, probably via the bridge at the end of Chancellors Drive.
The UEA Estates & Facilities Division says it is keenly aware of the importance of access to safe outdoor spaces at this time, and it hopes to resolve the the problem as quickly as possible.
More than ten days after oil pollution in the river was first reported, and the Environmental Agency inserted booms at the believed point of entry of the pollution into the river, pollution of the river by what appears to be diesel oil continues. Today, 3rd January, the “smell of diesel” remains at the bridge at the bottom of Chancellor’s Drive and a continuous oil slick can be seen moving downstream. Eaton Village Residents Association (EVRA) report the pollution has reached as far downstream as Marston Marsh.
Dog owners can act to avoid their dogs being contaminated, but no such protection can be afforded to the flora and fauna of the valley. The Oil Care Campaign publicises information on the impact of oil in rivers and provides advice on reducing its entry into the environment.
Please continue to report to the Environmental Agency the location of any pollution you see in the River, and so help stop the hazard continuing. The easiest way to do this is to use the Environmental Agency Incident Hotline 0800 80 70 60.
We have become used to the Yare Valley providing an attractive and varied green space for informal recreation during the Covid19 lockdowns, but at Christmas it assumed another important role. It became a vast floodwater storage area holding back many cubic metres of water and in doing so greatly reduced the likelihood flooding of homes situated downstream.
The vegetation on the slopes of the valley also had its part to play in slowing down the rate at which the heavy rain entered the river.
As the effects of climate change and residential development continue to make flooding events ever more frequent, the need to protect and enhance the green space of the Yare Valley becomes ever more urgent.