More ragwort pulling

Matt is organising another volunteer session to pull ragwort on Strawberry field. This time in the evening, as many people find it difficult to come at the weekend. Matt says that in the last session  “8 kind people did an incredible job and the field (now left uncut) is alive with butterflies, ant hills, grasshoppers chirping and dragonflies zipping by”.
The session will begin at 7pm on Thursday the 29th of July. Please bring gardening type gloves and wear long sleeves.

Help Create a Meadow

The Yare Valley Society has received the following request from Matthew Tomlinson

“Help needed to pull ragwort on Strawberry Field (Eaton, NR4 7LE) on Saturday the 17th of July at 10am. We are working with the landowner to change the way the field is managed, allowing us to treat it as a hay meadow and convert the site into an amazing 8 acre community wildflower meadow. It has been left uncut this year and a large number of bee orchids have popped up, along with a few pyramidal orchids and a huge amount of insect life. Please bring gloves and long-sleeved tops.”

Matthew is working with the landowner and the owners of the adjoining donkey field to get the fields management changed to turn it into a wildflower meadow. He has had good local support and hopes to do a moth trapping night over the summer. The ragwort is being pulled as an alternative to cutting the field which would kill any cinnabar moth caterpillars present. When the ragwort is pulled, any caterpillars on it will be transferred to plants off-field.

Warning. Ragwort is a highly toxic plant, and there is evidence that it can affect humans. Any pulling of the plant should be done wearing protective gloves, and although it may seem a fun activity for children, it is perhaps not wise to involve them.

If you have a special tool for the job e,g. a lazy dog weed remover please bring it with you. It is probably more effective for long term eradication.

 

Slow Ways in the Valley

We all enjoy our slow ways in the Valley, but a new project involving large scale collaboration aims to create a national network of “Slow Ways”. “A Slow Way is a route for walking (or wheeling) between neighbouring cities, towns and villages, using a variety of existing paths, ways, trails and roads.”

Slow Ways from Norwich cross the Yare at Cringleford, Harford and Lakenham Bridges, but only one route, Norwich-Mulbarton, passes along part of the Valley.  It uses the Bridleway from the Mulbarton Road across to Keswick Mill, before turning south west to head past Keswick Hall, to picking up the Bridleway beside the Southern Bypass across to Intwood  Road.

Yare Valley Society declares GNLP unsound

The Yare Valley Society is objecting to the GNLP on the grounds of the Plan being unsound in respect of two of its policies:

Policy GNLP0133DR: Land between Suffolk Walk and Bluebell Road

Policy GNLP0133-E: Land at the UEA Grounds Depot Site, Bluebell Road University of East Anglia.

See Consultations page for more details.

Wildlife Wildlife Trusts launch petition to write nature’s recovery into law

“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.

The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review: What is our green space worth?

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.

Water storage on Marston Marsh

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!

Next Phase of Local Plan Consultations

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.

Colney Burial site gets planning go ahead

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.

Flooding near existing burial ground

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.

 

 

Man of stones immersed in his landscape

Man of Stones emerges from the floods

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.

 

Pollution persists in the River Yare

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.

Danger for Ducks

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.