Landowner plans to establish breeding Ruff in Norfolk


A Norfolk landowner has announced plans to establish a breeding population of Ruff in the county, with birds already imported from Germany and living in aviaries on site.

Andrew Crean wants to expand a scheme he has begun on wet grassland he has created at Deepdale Marsh, near Brancaster. He has applied for planning permission to build aviaries for the waders, along with a bungalow for a warden who will live on site as part of a privately funded project.

Small numbers of young Ruff, imported from Germany, have already been reared in an existing aviary on Deepdale Marsh. Small mounds for the males to lek on have also been created.

Some of the young Ruff being released at Deepdale Marsh (Chris Bishop).

A report to West Norfolk Council says conservation groups including the Max Planck Institute in Germany and UK organisations including Pensthorpe, the Zoological Society of East Anglia and Banham Zoo all support the programme.

Mr Crean's agent said the proposed expansion "builds upon a wider conservation farming project at Deepdale Marsh that commenced in November 2007 of arable reversion, wet grassland and broad restoration".

A planning statement concludes: "It is considered that the proposals provide a unique conservation project, with positive environmental contributions to the wider environment through the conservation and research.

"While there is no specific local planning policy for such conservation projects, it is considered this unique conservation project accords with the overarching national planning principles and policies for conservation and sustainability."