Mystery of what is happening to drainage board money

From: JN Duckitt, Wormley Hill, Sykehouse, Goole, East Yorkshire.

YOUR letter from J Sutcliffe (Yorkshire Post, January 29) concerning lack of dredging 
in main rivers is a major 
concern to those living in 
lowland areas.

The Environment Agency (EA) is controlled by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

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Their approach to dredging is that rivers should take their natural course to the sea without maintenance. This policy may be appropriate for rivers with a steep discharge, but where they flow through flat land at high levels they require regular maintenance, ie dredging and bank maintenance.

Under the Drainage Act of the early 1990s, Defra was given permissive powers to do as much or as little as it pleased regarding river maintenance; it has opted for the latter.

Our local drainage board is paying £318,000 every year but we can’t find out where this money is being spent.

There are many within the hierarchy of the drainage and conservation world who seek to let good land revert back to swamp. The lack of river and bank maintenance shows how their desires are proceeding.

From: Andrew S Horton, Foston Lane, North Frodingham, Driffield.

IN reply to Mr Sutcliffe’s
letter and the dredging of the River Hull, I worked for 
a company called the Yorkshire Ouse and Hull River Authority 
as an 18-year-old lad (I am 
now 68).

One of the tasks I had was walking in front of the Priestman draglines clearing any bushes or obstacles away.

The last time I can remember it being dredged is about 50 years ago by a chap called Art Hebblewhite.

He could throw the dragline bucket from one side of the river to the other bank and bring it back full of eels and silt.

I know the river well as I was born not far off Beverley Shipyard. I think the main problem with the river is the sunken boats at the Hull side of the shipyard bridge which have been there for many years.

I will also add that a gang of lads would get on their bikes with all their tools tied on them including a lye (syke) with Massey band and ride to a dyke or drain and get mowing it out.

I would add the old Priestman draglines had no hydraulics, not like today. They all worked off wire ropes and there was real skill in it.

Health and safety would have had a fit.