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.
Cringleford Bridge has been a popular place for some young people to take a jump into the river. This is not a practice to encourage, and a recent underwater exploration has revealed some of the hidden dangers.
A team of scuba divers, limited in their activities by the lockdown, ventured into the depths of the river Yare below the bridge and over a few hours successfully retrieved eight shopping trolleys, three bicycles, a single bed frame, two road traffic cones and an assortment of metal and scaffolding poles. The team reported that their haul was only a quarter of the rubbish in the river, and that the river bed was strewn with rubbish.
Some of the objects were at a depth of only two metres and so could present a serious hazard to anyone entering the water unwarily.
A big thank you to the diving team for bringing this hazard to the attention of the public, and for their work on improving the river environment. Pictures and more about their work can be found here.
The Council for the Protection of Rural England is calling on all of us to take action on the Government plans “Planning for the Future”
“The government has devised some new plans that could pose a huge risk to the countryside and the communities living and working within it.
Ministers want to take decision-making powers away from communities and local councils, handing it over to housing developers and central powers in Westminster.
Under these new proposals, our ability to shape the future of where we live – a right communities have had for 70 years – could be lost with the stroke of a pen.”
The Government plans are a serious threat to our ability to protect the Yare Valley from development in the future. The Yare Valley Society Committee urges you to sign the CPRE Petition to be found here.
This is only a tiny step to expressing opposition to the Government’s proposals. Please respond to the current consultation on the proposals. See Consultations for details.
The following news item appeared today (8/8/2020) on the Norwich Rugby Club website:
“RELOCATION PLAN IS OFF
This message from Bob Annable:
At the AGM I advised that the University of East Anglia had expressed an intention to withdraw from the Colney Lane development and the Club’s relocation project. I can now tell you that the University has formally confirmed its intention to withdraw by issuing us with an appropriate notice to that effect. A press release has been issued today. Since being made aware of this likelihood, the Development Committee has been considering the alternative options that are open to us and continues to do so. Once we have assessed these options the intention is to share them with the Membership for formal feedback and views.
There is also a need to manage any financial liability this decision leaves us with. We will be starting discussions with the University next week but can tell you the relationship remains amicable and collaborative and that we have the University ‘s assurance to work with us in finding an acceptable proposal that does not leave the club in an any more challenging financial position than we currently face as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic. We therefore see this very much as ‘business as usual’ at Beeston Hyrne, for the foreseeable future and once the current constraints imposed on us by Covid 19 are behind us.”
Further background details are available in the Eastern Daily Press for today (8/8/2020) on page 12, and on-line here
The Yare Valley Society comments: The proposed relocation of the Rugby Club and the building of a new Club House and parking area was a serious intrusion into the Yare Valley Green Infrastructure Corridor, seemingly contradicting its protected status. Some parking space for the Rugby Club, by Colney Lane, has already been constructed, covering green space with asphalt. As the Yare Valley Society warned at the time, the nature of the planning approval permitted a car park to be constructed for a facility that may not exist. What a mess!
The Yare Valley Society will be reviewing the changed situation and what it might mean for the Yare Valley green space in the future.
McCarthy and Stone have put forward revised plans. They include 32 bungalows, 18 apartments, a resident’s pavilion, and an area of Public Open Space, along with new pedestrian links from Bluebell Road to the Yare Valley Walk.
You can view the plans and submit your own comments at https://planning.norwich.gov.uk, under reference 19/00911/F. Comment should be submitted by Thursday 6th August.
In terms of general layout and how it might impact on the Yare Valley, a starting point is the document Revised Landscaping details dated July 16 2020. A Management Plan states: “To the south western edge of the scheme, areas of woodland copse with standard trees set in wildflower meadow are proposed as part of the Open Space proposals which lie to the west of the development. These form part of a transitional landscape between the proposed built development and the valley of the River Yare. Informal groups of parkland trees within the open space allow a vista along the main vehicular route of the development and out across the open space to the river valley beyond. A metal estate rail is to form the boundary between the residential development and the open space beyond, with an edge of bulbs within grass.”
As with the earlier plans for this site the Yare Valley Society committee will submit its comment. The committee consider “A metal estate rail” with “an edge of bulbs within grass” to be totally inadequate to minimise the impact of the built development on the adjoining public space and the valley, and it is concerned about the failure to link the space with the existing footpath on the south east edge of the development.
A copy of the Yare Valley Society comments on this application are now available here.
Agriculture and urban expansion have put pressure on some of the most valuable habitats for pollinators in our region. Many of the remaining wildflower-rich habitats are small and increasingly isolated within the landscape. A new B-Lines project by the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, Buglife, and funded by Defra, aims “to create an interconnected web of potential and existing wildflower habitats across the UK, aiming to help restore populations of insects”.
Norwich is at a B-lines crossroads. One of the B-lines follows the Yare Valley from Whitlingham Broad through Lakenham wetlands, Marston Marsh and Eaton Common, before turning south towards Diss. The B-lines will help link the saltmarsh and coastal habitats to the region’s inland wetlands, heathlands, flower-rich grasslands and brownfield sites. The B-lines will benefit a whole host of species, including important pollinators.
If you live, work, own land or go to school on a B-Line, Buglife gives guidance on how you can help with the project. Buglife quotes Richard Attenborough:
‘If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’
A striking array of flowers in parts of the Valley at this time, some obvious:
some more hidden away:
June Gentle, who sent in these photos writes:
“The Yare Valley has been of paramount importance to many people during this time of isolation and restrictions of movement.
I have met many people walking the valley to whom it has been a place of calm and peace, and have enjoyed the unfolding of nature in this lovely Spring weather.
We have watched the gold of dandelions give way to yellow buttercups and the deep blue of bluebells. Later the scent of the May trees and flashes of butterflies, dragonflies and damsels .
I met one couple carrying the YVS Walks Guide, telling me that they had just completed them all; and others who have been grateful to find such a landscape available to them in these difficult times.
We have come to realise, even more, how important the natural world is to us all, and how vital it is to safeguard it for the future.”
Tomorrow (Monday 1 June) sees some relaxing of the lock-down with the attendant dangers. Strict observance of social distancing continues to be of utmost importance. It is wonderful to see great use being made of the Yare Valley Green Corridor, and the benefit it has been to so many; but parts of the riverside walk are becoming crowded, and in places, social distancing can be difficult.
Many of us are avoiding the narrower paths, and turning instead to the wide open spaces of Marston Marsh, Eaton Common, Earlham Park and the Bowthorpe Marshes. Marston Marsh looks particularly lovely at this time, with an air of remoteness. There is plenty to see.
Eaton Common is missed by many. A circular walk allowing plenty of distancing space in most places. The walk includes a tranquil stretch of the river with passing places.