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Brecks conservation project wins £2m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant

A rivers landscape and heritage conservation scheme, which will deliver 24 projects in and around the area’s waterways, has won a
£2 million National Lottery Heritage Fund grant.

The award to Suffolk County Council and the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers (BFER) Landscape Partnership will unlock a further £1.5 million in match funding from partners and volunteers.

As part of the five-year scheme, the River Lark Catchment Partnership will deliver river restoration work, in partnership with the Environment Agency, and river path and access improvements with Suffolk County Council.

Lakenheath Fen, picture Nick Ford (18298461)
Lakenheath Fen, picture Nick Ford (18298461)

Jim Stephens, trustee, said: “For the River Lark Catchment Partnership the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Scheme is a huge boost to our ambition to restore our precious chalk stream, so we can return it to a more natural habitat, enriching the river’s bio-diversity and improving its amenity value for our communities.”

Bury Water Meadows Group is also supporting the project, which envisages restoration along the length of the Lark.

Andrew Hinchley, group chairman, said: “The River Lark is one of East Anglia’s only chalk streams and urgently needs support. This grant will pay for much of the materials our volunteers need to do restoration work.”

Volunteers work hard on the River Lark (18299016)
Volunteers work hard on the River Lark (18299016)

Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “This is excellent news for the Brecks and Suffolk as a whole.”

The £3.5 million conservation scheme will deliver 24 projects, including river restoration, surveying and mapping of the Brecks’ freshwater areas, improving river accessibility and engaging communities, schools and organisations in events and activities.

Tina Cunnell, chair of the partnership board and Thetford Town Council clerk, said: “I am delighted. Thetford will be one of the key delivery hubs as well as the base for the delivery team’s office, which is great news for the town.”

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