More urgency called for over need to dredge

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From: John Dickinson, Scaftworth, Doncaster.

IN response to the letter from J Sutcliffe regarding rivers (Yorkshire Post, January 29), the first 25 days of this year produced next to no rain, yet the water level in the river Idle in South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire remained right up at maximum.

Why? Well, due to the exceptional weather of the last nine months, comments the Environment Agency. Not so I say. This is a managed watercourse, it was dredged last in 1982 and a pump system installed. This pumphouse has the staggering ability to pump 2,160 tonnes of water per minute. And it was the finest technology of its kind in Europe at that time, worked splendidly for 20 years but through neglect not so today.

By not keeping the waterway clear of sludge this pump can only run for 15 minutes before draining the sump in front of it.

This lack of urgency to dredge the rivers, and this is all of the country’s rivers, is put down to directives from Defra and shortage of funds.

I believe funds to a large part are there, it is the lack of will and allocation of resources on the part of the Environment Agency that is missing. The result of all this is, as Mr Sutciffe remarked, poor flow at the outfall of our rivers, water running sideways not forwards.

For the benefit of the taxpaying public, the long-term security 
of our home-produced food 
and for the wildlife, let’s see 
a change of attitude from the ones paid to make the management decisions and directives.

So why was nothing much done in the past? Well clearly they got away with doing the minimum, but more extreme weather patterns, climate change, has changed requirements and the agency needs to quickly change with it.