Essex & Suffolk Water has supported the development of a major new wetlands area for people to enjoy in Suffolk.

The company’s Branch Out fund and Water Environment team worked with Suffolk Wildlife Trust on the creation of the 404ha Carlton Marshes site in Lowestoft.


The Water Environment team leads on a commitment made by Essex & Suffolk Water in 2020 to go above and beyond its regulatory requirements to support projects that benefit customers and the environment.


Branch Out funds help support the delivery of benefits for the natural environment, building resilience for the wildlife and people are dependent on it.


Focusing on locations where people can enjoy areas around water, via public rights of way, the company asked customers and environmental experts to suggest places that could benefit from biodiversity, access, and water quality improvements.


It then assessed these suggestions alongside research and surveys into other environmental improvements and worked in partnership with a wide range of environmental stakeholders to drive, support and deliver the initiative’s first four projects.


At Carlton Marshes, support was provided for the creation of the new site that has allowed customers access to 16km of paths and boardwalks to enjoy the wetland wildlife, with additional facilities provided for visitors including a new visitor centre and wild playscape.


This work was in partnership with Natural England, Heritage Lottery Funding and local land managers.

In the first year of delivering on the commitment, the Water Environment team has also supported two projects in Norfolk.
  • Customers visiting Essex & Suffolk Water’s Trinity Broads site in Norfolk can access viewing platforms via 0.7km of accessible boardwalks and benefit from footpath repairs and improved car parking at Filby and Ormesby Little Broad. Wildlife has been improved by removing ochre and sediment from a dyke to improve fish habitats. This project was in partnership with Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Filby Parish Council.
  • Customers at Frenze Beck, near Diss, in Norfolk, can enjoy improvements to 1.5km of river via a 12ha county wildlife site, with a new footpath and boardwalks, disabled access, interpretation boards and benches to relax and enjoy the area. This work will help visitors to better experience wildlife, supported by new wetland habitat and bird boxes. This was carried out in partnership with the River Waveney Trust and South Norfolk District Council.

Mike Madine, Head of Wastewater Service Planning, Quality and Performance at Essex & Suffolk Water, said: “Establishing our Water Environment team and our pledge to go above and beyond regulatory requirements on supporting improvements to the water environment was a statement of intent, and a demonstration of our passion for, and commitment to, the environment.


“This work in Suffolk and Norfolk is really exciting, because it shows we are delivering on this commitment and sets the stage for the coming years, when we look forward to helping to deliver even more for customers and the environment.


“We’ve worked with a wide range of partners and stakeholders in our first year because we know that we can make a bigger and longer-lasting impact for the environment when working together than any of us can alone, and this sets the tone for how we intend to keep working.”