7 January 2000

Wildlife trust buys land

MORE arable land in East Anglia is to come under the control of conservationists.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust is buying 53ha (130 acres) of land near its Upton Fen nature reserve in the Broads area and intends to revert it to wet grazing marshes.

It is the latest of a series of recent arable land acquisitions by conservation agencies in the region, including wildlife trust and the RSPB.

The Norfolk land is known as Boat Dyke Marshes and was drained some years ago to allow wheat production.

The conservation group plans to re-organise the dyke system and raise water levels.

Its purchase is being made possible by grants of £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £50,000 from English Nature and £10,000 from the Broads Authority.

The Norfolk Biodiversity Action Plan, which was produced by the countys local authorities and conservation agencies to increase the variety of local wildlife species, sets a target of reverting 600ha (1400 acres) of land to wet grassland by the year 2002. &#42