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Dispute Over Bure Hump's Impact on Norfolk Flooding

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Dispute Over Bure Hump's Impact on Norfolk Flooding

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A relatively obscure segment of the river, known as the 'Bure Hump,' has sparked a contentious debate regarding flooding issues on the Norfolk Broads. Allegations from a group of campaigners suggest that neglecting dredging efforts in this area has led to elevated water levels, exacerbating flooding across the region.

The Broads Reform Action Group (BRAG) contends that inadequate dredging of the Lower Bure, near Great Yarmouth, has resulted in excessive silt accumulation, creating a shallow bottleneck impeding proper water flow. This obstruction not only hampers drainage but also poses navigation challenges, causing an uptick in boat groundings.

However, the Broads Authority (BA) rebuffs these claims, asserting that dredging decisions are based on meticulous scientific analysis. This clash highlights broader tensions between factions advocating for navigation interests (Navvies) and those prioritising conservation and tourism (Parkies) within the Broads community.


The stretch of the River Bure in question spans approximately 1.5 miles, from Ashtree Farm Reach to Marina Keys near Yarmouth. Due to its meandering course, the river is susceptible to silting, culminating in the formation of the 'Bure Hump' and impeding water flow towards the sea.

Allegations suggest that the BA's navigation charts inaccurately depict depths, potentially leading to overlooked dredging needs. Recent observations reveal an increase in boat groundings, indicative of deteriorating river conditions.


BRAG's analysis highlights discrepancies between BA's navigation charts and actual depths, raising concerns about reduced dredging activities. These suspicions fuel speculation that cost-saving measures may be hindering essential maintenance efforts.


Concerns about dwindling dredging activities prompt scrutiny over the effectiveness of maintaining the Broads' artificial waterways. Stakeholders emphasise the need for proactive measures to safeguard against escalating flooding risks and ensure the region's economic vitality.


The BA refutes allegations of inaccurate navigation charts, citing regular hydrological surveys to inform their data. The ongoing dispute underscores the complexity of balancing navigation needs with flood mitigation efforts amidst changing environmental conditions.

As the debate rages on, the Environment Agency conducts investigations to assess the potential benefits of deeper dredging on flood risk management. Despite differing viewpoints, both sides share a common goal of preserving the unique ecosystem and economic prosperity of the Norfolk Broads.

People still seem to generally describe the Norfolk Broads as being man-made which is true to some extent. We know the lakes are Broads which were dug out to source peet. We know the waterways have been diverted in places and even canalised. However the Norfolk Broads is effectively a giant ancient estuary and if it is not without restrictions and restraints, then it will cease to function with the ebb and flow of water.

It may even help if the entire River Bure was opened up again as it was to Aylsham before the great flood of the early 1900s.

In addition, perhaps Mutford Lock should be fully opened twice in a 24-hour period when the tide is going down

Might even help if the North Walsham & Dilham canal was fully opened up again to Antingham Pond.

The way I see it is the Norfolk Broads are full of restrictions whereas it should be the complete opposite.

Another good move would be to widen Ludham Bridge completely and as far as Potter Heigham goes...tear the bloody thing down. It's nothing but a nuisance to boaters and impedes the river dangerously.
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