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Latest news

LAST UPDATED  10 MAY 2021

White-tailed eagle West Norfolk reintroduction

Natural England have granted a licence to the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Wild Ken Hill to reintroduce White-tailed Eagles to West Norfolk and the surrounding region.
The go ahead has been given after a detailed feasibility study carried out by the project team and a public consultation which took place in January and February. 91% of participants gave their support for the proposals, including 83% of people who were "strongly supportive".
63% of farmers also indicated support for the proposals. The complete feasibility study, including results of the consultation can be accessed on the Wild Ken Hill website.
The West Norfolk project will become the next phase of national efforts to restore White-tailed Eagles to England, which began with the release of birds on the Isle of Wight in 2019. The Natural England license will allow up to 60 juvenile birds will be released at Wild Ken Hill over a ten year period, with the aim of establishing a small breeding population of 6-10 pairs in the region. White-tailed Eagles usually do not breed until they are five years of age, and so it will take some time for the population to become established.
The juvenile birds will be translocated from Poland, where there are over 1,000 pairs of White-tailed Eagles. Current complications with international travel under Covid-19 restrictions mean that the first birds are likely to be released in 2022.
Also known as the sea eagle, the White-tailed Eagle is a native bird of prey, and the UK's largest, with a wingspan of 8ft (2.4m). It was persecuted to extinction in Britain in the early twentieth century. The species has subsequently been successfully reintroduced to Scotland, and more recently, Ireland.
The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation is a conservation charity also involved in the ongoing south of England reintroduction project based on the Isle of Wight, which is a partnership with Forestry England. Wild Ken Hill is a conservation and sustainable farming project on the West coast of Norfolk.
Dominic Buscall, manager at Wild Ken Hill, said, "We are delighted to have the go ahead to bring back White-tailed Eagles to Eastern England, and overwhelmed by the support we have received from all sectors. We have also carefully been listening to concerns where they have arisen, and we are now committed to delivering this important conservation project and working with all of our stakeholders to ensure its success"
Roy Dennis who has been instrumental in the recovery of the species in the UK, said, "This is the next logical step to restore this magnificent bird to England and compliments efforts across Europe to help the species. We have carefully considered the potential ecological and socio-economic impact of the project and initial results from the Isle of Wight, and evidence from across lowland Europe, shows that this is a bird that can live successfully alongside people and fit into the East Anglian landscape very well."
Dave Slater, director for wildlife licensing at Natural England, said: "After thorough consideration, we have granted a licence allowing the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation to release white-tailed eagles at Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk. Our experts have carefully assessed the project against guidelines for the reintroduction of species, as well as the potential environmental, social and economic impacts. And we are satisfied that there are no significant risks associated with it. We're content that the applicant's experience, as well as our expertise
and licensing process, ensures the project will be carried out in a responsible, well-managed
way that takes account of concerns and makes a positive contribution to both people and
wildlife."
Wild Ken Hill was chosen for the next phase of national efforts to bring back the bird because
of its coastal location as well as its quiet woodlands, which provide ideal nesting spots.

Environment sector ethnic diversity survey

Wildlife and Countryside Link is working with Full Colour to undertake a comprehensive review of how the environment sector can improve ethnic diversity within our organisations. They would like to hear from leaders and staff working in the sector. The purpose of the survey is to assess how well leaders understand the issues, what actions have been taken to improve ethnic diversity and to what extent organisations in the sector create inclusive cultures that enable people to thrive, regardless of their background. This information will help to create a benchmark against which future progress can be measured and will inform a route map that will be developed to help organisations progress. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

GeoWeek 2021

GeoWeek 2021 theme is 'net zero by 2050 – what will it mean for our region?'
The virtual launch event on Thursday 29th April, 19.00 – 20.30, will begin with a presentation by the Director of the British Geological Survey, Karen Hanghøj, followed by a panel discussion of eminent scientists on the 'net zero' topic. You can join the discussion by using the chat to ask the panel questions.

Register in advance for this event at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqceqpqzIpEtIMli2juE_BKKtJ9mmOx-eh 

 GeoWeek are planning a series of virtual and self-led events that you can find by consulting the GeoWeek event map to see what is happening in your area, or virtually.

https://earth-science.org.uk/geoweek/find-event/

GeoWeek outdoor activities will be taking place across the UK between 1-9 May 2021.

Coastal Code poster

If you are a tourism business preparing to reopen once it is safe to do so, you may like this coastal code to share with your visitors this season to keep the Norfolk coast beautiful. 

Please email us at aonb@norfolk.gov.uk if you woulf like an A3 sized version.

The code is translated into several languages here 

The Countryside Code has been refreshed

The Countryside Code has been refreshed to reiterate the best practices around visiting the countryside and protecting the natural environment, both safely and enjoyably.

Natural England have launched the refreshed Countryside Code in time for Easter Bank holidays and the new change to pandemic restrictions on spending time outdoors.
It is anticipated that many people will be wanting to spend more time in nature as spring truly arrives. People will be using parks in both town and country, visiting nature reserves and wildlife sites and using the many footpaths and bridleways in national parks, AONBs and our wider countryside. We want to welcome and encourage everybody to enjoy nature, but to help them do that in a way that "protects and respects" nature, other visitors and those who own and manage the land they visit. 

The updated Countryside Code can be viewed here.

Rare Norfolk sea sponge named

A unique purple sea sponge, discovered over a decade ago off the coast of Norfolk, has finally been named thanks to a nine-year-old school girl called Sylvie.

The completely new species of sponge was first discovered ten years ago by Seasearch divers living in a special conservation zone in the North Norfolk chalk beds, but had remained nameless until the Norfolk school girl's suggestion was chosen.

Expert judges unanimously agreed the sponge should be named Parpal Dumplin - a name that evokes the sounds of the Norfolk accent. The winning suggestion was submitted by nine-year-old Sylvie from Langham Village School in Norfolk. Sylvie said that she came up with the new name "because the sponge is purple and it looks like a dumpling".

Children were invited to name the purple creature as part of the Agents of Change project, which aims to connect people with their local seas. See a photo of the amazing sponge and full details at: https://www.mcsuk.org/news/norfolk-sea-sponge 

Flooding and coastal resilience funding news

Coastal Partnership East are delighted to have been selected as one of 25 projects awarded funding to take part in a new flooding and coastal resilience programme. Their Norfolk and Suffolk Coast Transition Programme project will pilot a coastal adaptation toolkit and a community adaptation masterplan to prepare the coast for a climate resilient future in an area with one of the fastest eroding coastlines in Europe.

For further information on the new flooding response funding from Defra see www.gov.uk/government/news

Coast_Partnership_East brings together the coastal management resources and expertise from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, North Norfolk District Council, and East Suffolk Council and works in partnership with the Environment Agency, the Water Management Alliance, coast and estuary community partnerships and others along the 173km of coast in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Dark skies and light pollution

Efforts to preserve our national dark skies and nightscapes and reduce light pollution have stepped up this year with the formation of a UK Dark Skies group comprising of many organisations in this sector including AONBs and National Parks (including ourselves).  On 9th December 2020 a newly formed All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dark Skies published its Ten Dark Sky Policies. This calls on the Government to take action to reverse the rapid growth of light pollution, challenges the existing legal framework within planning, tackles rules for outdoor lighting and emphasises the need for public awareness required to reduce light pollution:  

Policy Plan — APPG for Dark Skies (appgdarkskies.co.uk). Following this on Monday 14th December, the APPG secured a debate in the House of Commons on dark skies: https://youtu.be/oKIMRtkKtAU

If you are interested in learning more about dark skies and light pollution you can watch this very useful webinar 'Saving our Night Skies – Reducing Light Pollution' https://youtu.be/lftsD1Q2YwY

Finally, a date for your diary.. we will be running our 3rd Dark Skies Festival in the Norfolk Coast and Broads area between Saturday 25th September – Sunday 10th October 2021 where we aim to have a mix of face-to-face and online events for you to take part in. More information on this to follow in due course.

New NCP small grant fund now open

We are pleased to advise that the Norfolk Coast Partnership Small Grant Fund is officially open. We are now able to offer small grants of between £500-£3,000 for local, community projects which bring environmental benefits to the Norfolk Coast area of outstanding natural beauty and its communities. Projects which encourage people of diverse ethnicities, age groups and accessibility needs to experience and enjoy the area would be particularly welcomed. For further details see http://www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk/partnership/ncp-small-grant-fund/1227 

Diversity Outdoors

If you missed One to One at 09:30 on Radio 4 - Mya-Rose Craig was talking to Rhiane Fatinikun of Black Girls Hike - listen again at https://bbc.in/2RPUNfG .In the first of two programmes exploring how we can increase diversity outdoors in the rural landscape, 18 year old Mya-Rose Craig, aka Birdgirl, talked to Rhiane Fatinikun about Black Girls Hike which she founded about a year ago to enable black women to benefit from the comradery of other black women and enjoy the tranquillity of rural areas.

Reintroduction of White-Tailed Eagles

The Roy Dennis Wildlife Trust and Wild Ken Hill, based in Snettisham, have launched a public consultation to obtain people's views on plans to reintroduce white-tailed eagles to West Norfolk and the surrounding area. The survey, along with a brief introduction to the project and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), can be found here: https://forms.gle/2c2KkU5cPznPPBiE6

Experience Project winter tourism survey

Norfolk County Council's Experience project are surveying Norfolk residents every 6 months to understand how local people feel about tourism in their area. The latest survey is open to all Norfolk residents over 18 years old and the results will be used to tailor the activities of the project and better understand the perceived benefits and disbenefits of tourism for local people. There is the opportunity to win a £40 Jarrolds voucher for all who participate. Deadline for completion is Apr 16.

Norfolk Coast AONB Scout & Guide Challenge Badge

The Norfolk Coast Partnership are pleased to bring you a Norfolk Coast Challenge for Scout and Guiding members of all ages. This challenge resource has been approved by Norfolk Scouts and Girlguiding Norfolk Commissioners and all activity link providers. There is a lovely unofficial/non-uniform/blanket badge available to purchase for all who take part.

The Challenge consists of;

  • Taking part in at least 4 activities from our partnership members - we've recommended age groups but feel free to mix and match
  • Getting out and exploring by visiting at least one site within the AONB - why not stay in the area on a residential or even sleep out under the stars?

At present (March 2020) strict travel restrictions are in place due to coronavirus which will obviously result in groups currently being unable to visit the Norfolk coast. However, most of the activities in the challenge from the Norfolk Coast Partnership are suitable for Scouting and Guiding members to do at home. Once groups can start meeting again, how great would a visit or sleepover at one of our beautiful coastal venues be!

Feel free to share the activity links and downloads with your Scut and Guide groups and help them stay connected with nature at this time. Do let us see what they have been up to via Twitter @NorfolkAONB or by email to aonb@norfolk.gov.uk (with photo permission of course).

Climate taking action on the Norfolk Coast

A coast-based bid is the latest in the Norfolk Coast Partnership's efforts to mitigate climate crisis in one of the UK's most beautiful and vulnerable places

The Norfolk Coast area of outstanding natural beauty, a diverse, precious area designated under law as a national landscape, special for everyone, is exposed to the climate crisis. Sea levels are rising, the dynamic coast is shifting and extreme weather events are ever more common.

The Norfolk Coast Partnership is working on projects to adapt to and mitigate for these changes and to build environmental and community resilience.

Estelle Hook, Norfolk Coast Partnership Manager, said: "Today, if no consolidated and serious action is taken to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions we are headed for a dramatic change to our coastal landscape."

"Across our area, there are stories of hope – from the clean energy of windfarms, to protecting species at risk; from helping people to understand nature and change, to farmers working together for their local river. There are increasing calls for more cycle paths, footpaths and for the necessity to build in low carbon living."

"Actions we have taken include developing with partners a Norfolk Coast Climate Change Adaptation plan, publishing an edition of our Norfolk Coast Guardian focussed entirely on climate change this year and applying for funding for climate change projects."

The Norfolk Coast Partnership has just submitted a bid to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a project called 'Greening the Edge'. This project is about the underappreciated, incredibly valuable biodiversity which exists in community spaces on the coast. A diverse range of community volunteers will build understanding of their local environment, undertaking regular biodiversity audits in their parishes, gardens, common land, open access areas and school grounds. The data collected will contribute towards the first ever comprehensive Norfolk Coast AONB biodiversity audit, and help to make predictions about the changes it faces.

Most importantly, people will be informed and empowered to have a voice in planning the significant adaptation and mitigation required for nature resilience, building the connectivity crucial to landscape-scale survival.

If you are interested in being part of this project, please email aonb@norfolk.gov.uk.

Climate crisis: some facts

Carbon makes up around 80% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. These have been falling, thanks to cleaner power sources. But the rates are too slow: including aviation, shipping, imports and exports our total carbon emitted shows a fall of only 10% since 1990.

Per head, estimated CO2 emissions in the UK declined from 8.7 to 5.4 tonnes/person between 2005 and 2016. Closer to home, Norfolk went from having below UK average per capita CO2 emissions in 2005 to above in 2016 (5.7 tonnes/person) due to its increasing levels of road transport.

Worldwide, governments have recognised the crisis, and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  Paris agreement was a commitment to take actions to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the rise to 1.5 degrees.

By 2050 at the latest, and ideally by 2040, we must have stopped emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than earth can naturally absorb through its ecosystems. Our global greenhouse gas emissions must be clearly in decline by the early 2020s (in other words, now) and reduced by at least 50% by 2030.

Planning for Housing within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) is the collective voice of the AONB Partnerships and Conservation Boards and represents the AONB network on issues of strategic national importance.  Read their key messages and position statement http://www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk/partnership/planning-development/1055

Office update

23 March 2020

Due to coronavirus restrictions, Norfolk Coast Partnership staff are home working, or may be absent, and this could lead to some delays in answering calls and responding to emails. We are not checking the office phone for messages. Please use email as first choice of communication. Our general office email is aonb@norfolk.gov.uk. We will do our best to ensure that our online shop orders are sent out, but inevitably some delays are likely. Thank you for your patience.

New film to help protect Norfolk seals

The Norfolk Coast Partnership has launched a new film this week in a bid to help protect new born seal pups on the coast.

The film's release comes after two pups died at Winterton due to human intervention last week. Made by students at City College Norwich, The Grey Seals of Horsey tells the story of the efforts to look after one of the UK's most successful breeding seal colonies.

Students Ellen Sherwood, Sam Askew and Joe Ewing filmed the Friends of Horsey Seals wardens group guarding the 'rookery' as a group of seals is known.

The Norfolk Coast Partnership commissioned the film to help explain the key points – that the seals are magical but to protect them all visitors need to listen to wardens, keep to the paths and a distance of an absolute minimum of 10 metres away – at least the length of a bus - and stay on the landward side of the seals. The pups are vulnerable to disturbance and we are all responsible for them.

Peter Ansell, chair of Friends of Horsey Seals, said: "We have this year 250 volunteer Wardens in total sharing the patrolling from Horsey to Winterton, and although the situation at Horsey is quite stable, the pups at Winterton, now double the amount of last year at 500, are causing concern as they spread into the dunes and further south towards the car park. My message is for Winterton visitors to be extra vigilant as a large number of seals and pups are almost invisible until the last minute, and please, if you have to take dogs along, ensure they are kept on a very short leash."

The 10-minute film was made by Twin Panda Productions, a company formed by students on the Media Learning Company course at City College Norwich. Short clips featuring the most important seal watching advice are also being produced to share on social media.

The Grey Seals of Horsey is available to view at https://youtu.be/XuTb8MsDIz0

Natural England status report

Government's advisor, Natural England, have produced a report on the condition of the North Norfolk coast's natural environment following an evidence-based review assessing the condition at the coastal landscape scale. This is a new and different approach from site based monitoring. Find the report here.

Defra's 25 year plan

Defra's 25-year environment plan 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to
Improve the Environment'  is available on the www.gov.uk website at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/673203/25-year-environment