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August 2011 Report

Although there is no meeting of the council in August, stuff still happens. Particularly in the inner cities.

Last month I jokingly suggested a bottle bank webcam. This month that doesn’t seem like such a daft idea given the spate of fly-tipping that has occured in that area since then. Fortunately one of the worst offenders was spotted and his details passed to the District Council for action. We can but hope he gets a hefty fine – if only to discourage any others with similar thoughts. The bonfire site at the other end of the car-park has also been the recipient of inappropriate materials some of which would make the bonfire a very lively event indeed.

Apart from it being illegal and anti-social, fly-tipping is unnecessary as the NNDC will dispose of most items of household rubbish at their depot at Pretty Corner – and what an inspired site for a rubbish dump that was – free of charge. Mostly. Stuff dumped in the countryside, or indeed in our carpark, has to be removed and that does cost money. Taxpayers’ money. If you see anybody dumping rubbish where it shouldn’t be dumped, please take their details and pass them on to the NNDC Environmental Protection people: the number to call is 01263 516085. The alternative course of action – stringing them up from the nearest lamp-post – is fortunately inhibited by the extreme dearth of lamp-posts in the village.

One thing of which there is no shortage around here is designated areas of natural or environmental importance: our Heritage Coast has National Nature Reserves, Special Areas of Conservation, Ramsar sites, Special Protection Areas, a slew of SSSIs and doubtless others I’ve forgotten. Now it is to have Marine Conservation Zones as well. These MCZs are to include ‘reference areas’ – defined as an area where all extraction, deposition or human-derived disturbance is removed or prevented – to act as benchmarks for the study of changes to other areas of the same habitat type. Is that clear? Try it direct from the horse’s mouth at www.netgainmcz.org.

This process is happening all along the North Sea coast, North Norfolk being just one segment. The draft proposals cover seven reference areas, four of which just happen to be in the Glaven area. These are the saline lagoons behind the Cley-Salthouse beach, home to rare Starlet Sea Anemones; Seagrass Beds at Stanley’s Cockle Bight at Blakeney Point;  an area of Saltmarsh between the Morston and Blakeney creeks; and a Saline Reed Bed here in Cley, immediately to the north and east of the tide gate. The latter is probably he least contentious as, apart from theoretical grazing rights belonging to certain properties in Cley (theoretical because none of them actually possess any livestock) no-one has any reason to visit that area. All the others have some traditional usage, which if sufficiently low level should not be affected and Netgain have been careful to consult likely interested parties such as fishermen, wildfowlers, the NT and NWT and of course Parish Councils. It is rumoured that the team looked at Brancaster but were given their marching orders by the very well organised Common Rights holders there so picked on us as a softer target. I couldn’t possibly comment.

The timeline for the project includes public consultation in Spring/Summer 2012, but as that consultation is to be organised by DEFRA you can be sure the outcome will be pretty much cut and dried before they even start. If it helps to protect our environment from the wholesale pillaging of our resources by commercially motivated gangs then bring it on. The only problem will be enforcement of the ‘no-take’ zones and for that we’ll have to rely on the already overstretched Police. Now, if only we could get all those trendy restaurateurs to forget about samphire and to think up recipes for alexanders…



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