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Latest news

LAST UPDATED 6 OCTOBER 2020

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.

Norfolk Coast AONB Transport Survey

How do you get around the AONB? How would you like to? Are these answers different? We are currently reviewing the Norfolk Coast AONB Transport Strategy. As part of this process we would like to ask local people and visitors to the area about their experiences of getting around the AONB. We are aiming to record any issues and opportunities at a parish level, with particular regards to local traffic management including visitor car parking, walking and cycling opportunities and any further learning acquired during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Please let us know your experiences here:  https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/NorfolkCoastAONBTransportSurvey/

Dark Skies Festival 23-26 September 2020

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Our Dark Skies Festival is going VIRTUAL this year! For four days immerse yourself in all things dark skies related.  See how our wonderful festival partners are celebrating our splendid night skies and dark landscapes here. Also discover how we can keep them beautifully dark. Alongside the schedule there will be podcasts, activities, impromptu events, and links to further information.

Join in on social media, tell your friends and keep checking our website and Facebook page for updates. 

Twitter and Facebook @NorfolkAONB    Instagram @norfolkcoastaonb #Norfolkcoastdarkskies, #darkcoastnorfolk, #norfolkaonbdsf

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.

2020 Norfolk Coast Guardian

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Our 2020 edition of the Norfolk Coast Guardian has been published. Paper copies will be available as soon as social distancing restrictions to protect us all from Covid-19 are lifted.

In the meantime do enjoy the online version: Norfolk Coast Guardian 2020. or order your copy via our online shop 

Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund

Defra group is developing a natural environment Investment Readiness Fund (IRF) to support the development of natural environment projects that can generate revenue from ecosystem services and attract repayable investment. From 2021, this three-year £10 million programme will provide grants which project developers can use to build capacity and procure the specialist support and advice they need to develop their natural environment projects to an investable level.
Investment Readiness Fund Overview Document

Click to complete a short survey which should take less than 5 minutes to register your interest in the IRF, receive updates of developments and choose to be involved in the design of the fund.

The survey will be available until close of business on 30 September 2020
For any further queries please contact; IRF@environment-agency.gov.uk

Management Plan Consultation

The draft Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Five Year Strategy (2019-24) consultation was launched on Monday 13 July 2020. The review process has included focussed Partnership Forum meetings, workshops, discussions and 1-2-1 meetings over the last 2.5 years and has taken into account new ideas, as well as a wealth of significant new local, national and international information.

We welcome comments and suggestions by Friday 25 September 2020. Full details of the reason for this review, different versions of the document and how to provide feedback are at:

http://www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk/partnership/2019-24-management-plan-consultation/377

People and Nature Survey for England

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The People and Nature Survey for England,produced by Natural England, gathers information on people's experiences and views about the natural environment, and its contributions to our health and wellbeing. The latest monthly report is now available with interim indicators for COVID-19 data collected during 1st to 31st July 2020.

Almost half the population (46%) say that they are spending more time outside than before COVID-19 (up from 44% in June and 26% in May). With 42% of adults reporting that 'nature and wildlife is more important than ever to my wellbeing' and 35% visiting local green and natural spaces more often.

Read the report at; the-people-and-nature-survey-for-england 

Stay safe on the Norfolk Coast

Organisations along the Norfolk Coast are working hard to make the area of outstanding natural beauty safe for day visitors and holiday makers.

Most public toilets and car parks are now open and many pubs, restaurants and other businesses have re-opened, though there is still a reduced level of parking, catering and toilet facilities in some areas. More detailed information is available from individual organisations and businesses via their websites and the media.

A group of Norfolk Coast Partnership members is working to share good practice, address issues and record the many actions taken to get ready, from King's Lynn in the west to Great Yarmouth in the east. Their advice is that, if people decide to visit or come on holiday, they should plan in advance, stay safe and be considerate to the local communities and wildlife.

Norfolk Coast area of outstanding natural beauty manager Estelle Hook said: "If you plan to visit the coast, please follow the common sense guidelines of the coastal code to help keep the area beautiful for everyone."

The Coastal Code

How to enjoy, respect and protect the Norfolk Coast

Enjoy your visit and stay safe: prepare maps, guidebooks and other information to take with you; take account of weather conditions and tide times (www.ukho.gov.uk/easytide); check online for up-to-date advice and any restrictions – for example limits to access in the bird breeding season.

Respect people and place: read local updates and act on the advice given; walk or cycle or if you use a car, drive and park responsibly; keep to paths and leave gates as you find them; use public waste bins or take litter home; shop local and use local services.

Protect the area and its wildlife: take care not to disturb wildlife; keep away from cordoned areas; ensure you don't harm, destroy or remove any wildlife, plants or rocks; only light fires and BBQs in designated places

Times to take extra care: At breeding times and when over-wintering, animals and birds and their young are particularly vulnerable. Check your visits don't disturb them. Bird breeding season is the beginning of March to the end of August. Bird wintering season is the beginning of November to the end of March. Common seal breeding season is the beginning of June to the end of August. Grey seal breeding season is the beginning of November to the end of January.

Guidance for dog-walkers: Be aware of and adhere to restrictions limiting where dogs can go; keep your dog close to you and under your control; use a lead when needed or requested; prevent your dog from approaching cordoned areas; bag and bin your dog's poo.

This coastal code is available in a number of languages at:

http://www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk/partnership/coastal-code/1081

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 

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).

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.

Nature connection whilst at home

Following the latest government announcement that people can resume 'unlimited outdoor exercise' and 'driving to other destinations', the people, communities and wildlife of the Norfolk Coast are facing an increase in visitors. While it is not in our nature to encourage people to stay away, it is currently vital that we do so to ensure these special places are not overwhelmed. In many places on the coast there is not the infrastructure to support the necessary social distancing or to protect the vulnerable wildlife, communities, staff and volunteers.

We've prepared some information to help you enjoy nature whilst at home which you can find here; http://www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk/partnership/nature-connection-whilst-at-home/1226

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

Identifying Quaternary Local Sites for Norfolk Planners

Can you help the Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership? Norfolk has 41 SSSIs designated primarily for their Quaternary interest (making 39% of the regional total) and also has a wealth of sites outside the SSSI system which also deserve consideration by planners as County Geodiversity Sites (CGS). Since 2008, the Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership https://sites.google.com/site/norfolkgeodiversity/home has audited these local sites and has identified a shortlist of 303 candidate CGS which have primary features of Quaternary interest. We need to transfer spatial information about these sites onto the County Council's GIS system so that they can be identified in the planning system. Further details click here.

Development in AONBs

A debate in the House of Commons about development in the AONB received this response from the DCLG (now DHCLG!): "Areas of outstanding natural beauty have the highest status of environmental protection in the national planning policy framework, which states: "Great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty". In the year to March 2016, only 0.2 per cent of the Chilterns AONB was given to residential buildings. I can confirm that the Government are committed to retaining this protection, and it will not be weakened through our planning reforms. The interpretation of the NPPF protection for AONBs is in the first instance for the local authority to determine and thereafter, if relevant, for the planning inspector."

See the 1st PMQs of the 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvABRub3_io&index=1&list=PL40441042C458B62B