Hundreds gathered at Hickling Community Barn on Friday 2nd February for a critical meeting to confront the escalating flooding crisis. The event, which fell on World Wetlands Day, marked a pivotal moment, drawing community members, experts, and officials together to face the mounting challenges. The meticulous planning of the event by Duncan Baker MP and his team, which spanned months, was reflected in the presentations by the diverse panel, drawn from the Internal Drainage Board, Environment Agency, Anglian Water, Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk Flood Resilience Programme, and the breadth of interventions from the audience.
The Broads Society provided a strong presence, with six trustees, our Chair, President and Patron all attending the meeting, underscoring their commitment to the “Voice for the Broads”. Five trustees addressed the assembly and panel on a range of pressing issues. Their contributions spanned from the practicalities of dredging, innovative solutions to the current crisis, to rational perspectives on the contentious Herring Bridge issue, showcasing the Society's comprehensive knowledge and engagement with the region's challenges.
The atmosphere of the broads flooding meeting was charged, with community members actively contributing, earnestly sharing their struggles and seeking solutions. The dialogue covered a wide spectrum of issues, including navigation, flood banks, river levels, and maintenance, leaving no stone unturned. However, beneath the constructive discourse lay an undercurrent of frustration, stemming from the evident infrastructure failures exacerbating the flood's impacts. Participants called for immediate actions to repair and upgrade the faltering infrastructure, recognizing that these steps are just the beginning.
The conversation also turned to the future, emphasizing the need for long-term, sustainable solutions to adapt to an increasingly volatile and warming climate. The overwhelming consensus was that words must pave the way for action, with a clear demand for the promises made to translate into tangible, impactful changes.
The meeting underscored the community's resilience and determination not only to address the immediate crisis but also to lay the groundwork for a more secure, adaptive and flood-resilient future. The sense of urgency was palpable, as was the collective resolve to ensure that the next steps are not just plans but actions that bring real, positive change to the community.
The Broads Society is in close contact with MPs and all the responsible agencies. Our approach is collegiate and evidence-based, and we will continue to pursue the issues on behalf of our members and in the interests of public benefit.
*Added 14/02/24 -