Update: 18 January 2017
Following the flooding at the weekend, reserve staff are now carrying out a clean-up and repair programme. As at Thursday 18 January: the coast road is now open to access Cley, the Visitor Centre and car parks are open. The walks 'circuit' on the reserve is accessible however the hides and boardwalk will remain closed until further notice. The beach road is now clear but the beach car park is closed but likely that it will open at the weekend. Please check with the NWT Cley Visitor Centre for further information and updates. www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-in-norfolk/nature-reserves/reserves/cley-marshes
Saturday 14 January 2017
Whilst it seems that most places had a lucky escape from the storm surge on 13 January 2017, not so at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes which has incurred serious flooding and remains largely under seawater and inaccessible. NWT staff have been on the scene and report that there is some damage to infrastructure, but consider it is not as severe as due to the flooding which occurred in a similar storm surge in December 2013.
“Once we can regain access to the site, a clean-up operation will commence and we will be able to better assess the effects on wildlife and damage to fences, paths, hides and other infrastructure” said Brendan Joyce, CEO of NWT. “We have been here before so we have an inkling of what to expect. Whilst there will be a lot to do to recover the site, I am confident that we will once again bounce back and have Cley and Salthouse in shape again soon for wildlife and visitors. We are also pleased that so much of the rest of the coast has not been affected and that residents and homes alongside us are safe.”
There is no doubt that there will be wildlife casualties, especially to the plant and invertebrate life on the reserve. It is impossible to say at this stage what the extent of the losses will be. This means that for a time there will be limited food available for the many species of birds and other wildlife that depend on the habitats for their survival. It is important, therefore, that the seawater is able to escape on the low tides as quickly as possible so that the freshwater habitats can recover.
At present, the visitor centre and reserve remain closed and visitors are advised to stay away until further notice. We hope to have the visitor centre open again as soon as the Coast Road is cleared and re-opened, but the reserve is likely to take longer. Visitors should check our website www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk
or facebook and twitter for further updates.
“We know that the frequency of flooding incidents such as this are likely to occur more frequently due to climate change and it is just three years since the last such event. But we expect the reserve and its wildlife to recover and recognise that this is something that we will have to manage over time” said Mr Joyce. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Environment Agency and Natural England for giving us early warning and keeping us informed up to the event. This enabled us to be well prepared.”
- Ends -
Sue Borges at Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Office: 01603 625540
Mobile: 07919 064615