Following on from the CANAPE and Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme, FibreBroads is a new project commencing in 2023 that will help overcome the barriers we identified as the most significant to adoption of paludiculture.
It will also inform our strategic and operational thinking for the Lowland Agricultural Peat workstream going forward.
- Create further technical knowledge to grow crops via a paludiculture demonstrator and monitor the success of novel planting techniques.
- Develop a spatial planning tool to help target communications and support engagement with the relevant farmers about farming options development and changes they could implement on their farm.
- Create a streamlined process for water related permissions. This will support a simpler pathway through the regulatory process is needed for paludiculture options.
- Develop the elements of a viable business model to be shared with farmers. Including markets assessment and discussions with investors.
- Develop a prototype small scale building, and a network developed amongst relevant professionals (architects, engineers, and surveyors). A symposium to be held at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), and a prototype installed in a public space in Norwich along with product visualisation.
- Embed ‘Fibre Broads’ as a strategic alliance of paludiculture enterprises which continues to advocate the restoration of peat in the Broads and in Norfolk. Our legacy will be strengthened with our partners, including those in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark as well as the UK including Fenland Soil, Somerset Levels, North West and the Great Fen Partnerships.
The main project aim is to unlock paludiculture (meaning "the profitable production of wetland crops") as a new opportunity for farmers in the Broads and Norfolk. By targeting peatland farmers and assessing where change is possible, testing novel propagation, wetland crop systems, and developing a business network around the most viable products, we will help farming systems adapt to climate change and sea level rise.
Paludiculture can happen where there are solutions for complex challenges: agronomy, farmer knowledge, financial viability, water management, and the permissions needed to achieve this system of agriculture.
Our partnership will bring together stakeholders within the Broads Catchment and Norfolk Fens to develop different elements of paludiculture, including crop cultivation, water management issues and paludiculture product development. This will create knowledge and networks, connecting growers with construction businesses, to encourage viable market chains supporting carbon neutrality and nature recovery.
- The Broads Authority (as Lead Partner)
- Norfolk FWAG
- Norwich University of the Arts (NUA)
- Hudson Architects
- Wetland Products Foundation
- Norfolk County Council
- Environment Agency
- Broads Internal Drainage Board
- New Energy Farms
- DEFRA – Funding Agency
- Natural England – Fund Administrator
- Anglian Water – Funding agency
- National Farmers Union
The FibreBroads Project is funded by the Nature for Climate Paludiculture Exploration Fund (DEFRA), administered by Natural England (£395,499 from June 2023 until March 2025). The scheme provides funding to investigate paludiculture in the lowlands of England.