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An idea to build the first white water canoeing facility in East Anglia right in the heart of Norwich is being proposed by the British Canoe Union (BCU).

'In it's early stages, the Norwich Canoeing Facility and Fish Pass is a proposal to develop recreation and conservation facilities on the River Wensum around the New Mills pumping station. The proposals range from upgrading the existing canoeing arrangements to the creation of a new canoeing channel and fish pass around the building, a playwave feature, changing and spectator facilities.

Following a public consultation in June, a report is now available to view on the 2nd floor reception, City Hall, Norfolk.

Tony Carter, a local representative of the BCU said, “Canoeists from this area have to travel to Northampton or Nottingham to learn white-water skills, so our idea is to build an artificial facility here in Norwich. This could include a play wave for the increasingly popular freestyle canoeing. We would also aim to incorporate conservation improvements, like a fish pass, so that migratory fish such as trout and eels can swim upstream. That will improve things for wildlife and anglers.”

The report has highlighted wide-ranging support for the idea, although further research and development work is still needed on various aspects including water availability, environmental impact and technical feasibility.

Atkins Water has produced the Consultation and Scoping Report with funding from the Environment Agency, the BCU and Water City International II (Interreg IIIB European fund) for which Norwich is a partner city.

A new application for Water City International funding to look at the proposal in greater depth is currently being considered.

Note to Editors:

• Tony Carter can be contacted 01603 453503

• The report includes artist impressions of the canoeing facility