In this section you will find details about our general approach to consultation.
Details of consultation documents relating to specific proposals can be found on the relevant compartment pages.
You can also find details of all proposals that are currently open for formal public consultation on the Current Consultations page.
What is the Project's approach to public consultation?
The project has developed an original approach to public participation by including nearly 600 different stakeholders made up from interest groups, organisations, businesses and statutory and non-statutory bodies, as well as over 500 landowners. This represents a significant, broad level of contact with all types of interests.
As well as their involvement in the Strategic Environmental Framework update stakeholders are also consulted widely on the individual schemes in undefended communities and improvements to each individual flood defence compartment.
There is a rolling programme of detailed consultations to inform people about these proposals throughout Broadland, inviting comments before planning applications are submitted.
Consultation documents and questionnaires are sent out to consultees for each scheme. The document explains the proposed improvement works for specific flood compartments and the questionnaire allows stakeholders the opportunity to provide comments.
The project considers all comments that are received and, together with the project responses, these are included in the Environmental Statement, which is submitted as part of the planning application. The Project uses a number of additional methods to consult stakeholders about various aspects of the Project:
Meetings - The Project team hold regular meetings with key statutory stakeholders to discuss proposals. Staff also meet with landowners and interested parties both in the BESL office and on site.
Presentations and exhibitions - Members of the team regularly attend events at which they give presentations on different aspects of the Project. These include town council and parish council meetings.
Workshops - As part of the Working in Partnership approach, the Project team has taken part in a number of workshops relating to the Project and Broadland. An example of such a workshop was the Broads Authority Tree and Scrub Management Work
Stakeholder Forums - The Project has held three Stakeholder Forums to date.
To read about events held by BESL please click on the links below
Stakeholder Forum 2005
Royal Norfolk Show 2005 and 2006
Click here to read about the Stakeholder Forum 2009
What is Strategic Environmental Framework?
In 1997 the Environment Agency produced a draft Strategic Environmental Framework report. This was a first attempt to assess the impacts and opportunities that could arise during the design, construction and implementation of flood defence works. It also began to set out guidelines for dealing with these.
The Strategic Environmental Framework aims to identify and evaluate all potential effects on the environment. The term environment in this case is used in its very widest sense and refers to the broader environment in which projects operate. It includes local economic and social well-being, as well as agriculture, recreation and navigation.
This process also helps to identify and evaluate opportunities for enhancement. This might include benefits to agriculture, by improvements to drainage systems; benefits for nature conservation, by protecting, creating and reinstating habitat and benefits to recreation, by provision of moorings, angling platforms or access.
Some opportunities and enhancements may be achieved within the Project budget where they are directly related to the project flood defence work. In other cases, enhancements will certainly require funding from other sources through partnership schemes.
The project updated the original draft SEF and part of this process; public participation from groups and individuals with interests throughout Broadland was encouraged.
Initially a series of seven leaflets explaining the project was sent out to key stakeholders in May 2002, and comments received in return formed the basis of a public Stakeholder Forum held in February 2003.
The Stakeholder Forum held in January 2005 aimed to update stakeholders on the project and give them an opportunity to feedback.
What are the boundaries of public participation?
The Environment Agency has set clear requirements for the Broadland Flood Alleviation Project and there are also legal requirements that the project must comply with. Together these boundaries will define how far public involvement can influence the project work.
To make public participation fully meaningful, efficient and helpful, the boundaries to this process need to be clear.
The project's own work
Any stakeholder comments and suggestions directly relating to the project flood defence work can be dealt with directly by the project. An example might be the exact siting of a temporary haul road during improvements to flood defences.
Statutory bodies wider duties
Where feedback does not directly relate to the project flood defence work, it needs to be considered by organisations with a wider remit.
This broader scope could enable statutory organisations such as the Environment Agency or the Broads Authority to act within their duties or roles that are defined by law, such as the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
If these organisations work in partnership with the project and use non-flood defence funds, such as the European Union Leader grants, stakeholder comments in this category could still be incorporated. An example might include the provision of enhancements, such as new moorings, during works to flood defences.
Some stakeholder comments and suggestions cannot be dealt with by any organisation as part of the Project. These may relate to high-level National or European policies on flood defence funding. An example might be calls for construction of a tidal surge barrier at Great Yarmouth.
Whenever the project invites the participation of stakeholders, the opportunities and limitations of the Project will always be made clear so participants understand its aims and objectives.
The flood defences must be sustainable and within the strict financial limits of the Project. The public participation process will help to make sure of this, both for the Project overall and each individual scheme within it, by clarifying that each part is:
Cost-effective and economically viable
Socially acceptable, e.g. by identifying the possible impacts on, and gains for, local communities.
Environmentally sound, e.g. by identifying environmental gains where possible and by minimising potential negative impacts where they are not.