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Middleton: Calls for river to be dredged after flood

12:15 07 March 2014

The River Minsmere in Middleton is building up with silt.

The River Minsmere in Middleton is building up with silt.

A recent build-up of silt and debris has sparked renewed calls for a Suffolk river to be dredged in order to prevent future flooding.

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The Environment Agency (EA) has been asked to increase the depth of Minsmere River at Middleton, near Leiston, by removing silt left on the river bed by flood waters.

Although work was carried out to clear a channel of the river in November last year, Middleton-cum-Fordley parish councillor Bob Perrett believes dredging must be carried out to prevent levels overtopping in the future.

Mr Perrett, who is the lead councillor for local river levels, said that deposition of fine silts on surrounding water meadows could be harmful to grass in the long term. He added: “Parts of Minsmere River are now filled to above the top of the water level with silt, allowing reeds to grow in places.

“The water meadows have done their job very well but they shouldn’t be enriched by river water.

“Two years ago, we cleared out all the trees that were rooting into the silt. We have been asking the EA to dredge the river for the last five years but nothing has yet been done.

“I understand the EA has difficult decisions to make but rivers seem to have fallen down the list of priorities.”

Mr Perrett proposed dredging the Middleton watercourse running from Vale Farm to the confluence of the Minsmere River.

However, an EA spokeswoman said there are no immediate plans to increase the depth of the river, but that defence work had been carried out on the New Cut and associated sluices, as well as at Reckford Bridge in Middleton.

She added: “In November 2013, we cleared the channel of the Minsmere River from Reckford to Eastbridge, as a local resident had raised concerns and machinery was close-by completing works to the Minsmere Sluice.

“We prioritise our work where it makes the best use of every pound of tax payers’ money to reduce the risk of flooding to most people, homes and businesses. The watercourse at Middleton is a small tributary of the Minsmere River with one property in the flood plain.”

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