PRESS RELEASE FROM THE PIKE ANGLERS CLUB
Pike anglers are stunned by the Government’s refusal to back their campaign to save the Norfolk Broads.
The issue surfaced in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions today (Weds), when North Norfolk MP Gordon Lamb asked whether sea defences protecting the Upper Thurne and its broads would be safeguarded.
Plans to abandon defences have been proposed at a meeting between Natural England, the Broads Authority and the Environment Agency.
If put into action, the so-called managed retreat would lead to Hickling Broad, Horsey Mere, the Martham Broads and Heigham Sound being flooded by the sea.
Documents leaked to the Pike Anglers Club say the move would send out “the right message” about the impact of climate change on our coastline.
But the 2800-strong club has pledged to fight to save what it calls some of Britain’s most historically-important pike fisheries.
Mr Lamb asked for assurances that sea defences between Eccles and Winterton would continue to be maintained.
But Commons Leader Harriet Harman, sitting in for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said ministers would work to ensure “the right way forward”.
Mr Lamb said he was “disappointed” at the response. Six villages, thousands of hectares of farmland and internationally-important nature reserves are also at risk.
Mr Lamb, who said he was disappointed at the response, is calling for Environment Minister Hilary Benn to visit Norfolk to see for himself the area which would be affected by the plan.
The Pike Anglers Club said: “We are stuuned. We share Mr Lamb’s disappointment at the lack of assurances from the Government that the Broads will continue to be protected.
“We are talking about a cost of around £1.5m a year to maintain sea defences which protect thousands of homes, let alone some of our finest pike fisheries.
“It is unthinkable that all this could be lost to “send out the right message” about climate change” and save what is a relatively small amount in the scheme of things.”
More than 500 people have signed an online petition on Gordon Brown’s 10 Downing Street website to Save the Broads.
Go to http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/savethebroads/ to join them.