Broads threatened by pollution says RSPB

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads are under threat from pollution, rising sea levels and domestic water demands, according to an RSPB report.

A Greener Future for The Broads, published by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on Tuesday, called for action to repair the damage and prepare for the environmental challenges of the future.

The charity has set out 12 conditions that is says should be met by 2015 to show the area was on the road to recovery.

This includes an increase in bird numbers, an improvement in water quality and the condition of wildlife sites, and a reduction in the number of visitors travelling to the area by car.

The report also says at least half the boats used on the Broads should no longer be powered by fossil fuels by 2015.

Richard Powell, the RSPB’s director for eastern England, said: “The impact of the twentieth century has mostly not been kind to Broadland.

“Though much of great value remains, we have damaged a great natural treasure.

“Business as usual in the Broads is not acceptable. We need a debate on how we manage the Broads so its nature recovers.

“It is an asset for people and business and it offers a truly sustainable future.”

Mike Barnes, head of natural resources and rural policy in the Government Office for the East of England, said: “Just as the spectre of climate change looms larger in the east of England that in most other parts of Britain, so the coasts and waterways of Norfolk lie most vulnerable.

“Sea level rise and an increased risk of flooding raise the threat of salt-water incursion.

“Difficult decisions need to be made about how we adapt to climate change, how we manage land in the future and how we look after precious environmental assets like the Broads.”

The state of protected sites in the Broads is a key test of wildlife quality, says the RSPB.

Kate Martin

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