Dredging - pilot rivers announced

Defra has announced seven River Maintenance Pilots’ where farmers and landowners will be able to dredge rivers without permission (‘red tape’) from the Environment Agency.

Environment Agency Chief Executive Paul Leinster said:
We want to make it as easy as possible for farmers to undertake appropriate maintenance work on rural watercourses, whilst still ensuring that wildlife and the environment are properly protected.

The WTT (along with the Angling Trust and Salmon and Trout Association) are concerned that, in many cases, dredging rivers not only damages habitat, it also does not reduce flood risk. Many WTT projects involve creating good habitat and a sustainable, self cleansing channel in rivers that have been damaged by dredging in an (often misguided) attempt to reduce flooding. 

See the Environment Agency’s own paper : Evidence – Impacts of Dredging’ by Judy England and Linda Burgess-Gamble, August 2013

The Defra press release with details of the seven pilots, and the Angling Trust press release, is available here.

See also our recent news item The unintended consequences of dredging’