A bid to make a Suffolk river safe for swimming has been postponed for a year after a local authority was unable to support the application.

Campaign group Save the Deben is seeking designated bathing water status from Government department Defra for the River Deben at Woodbridge, but East Suffolk Council could not back the plans due to concerns about the danger to swimmers posed by boats using the river.

A previous bid had failed because Defra deemed the number of swimmers using the area was too low.

READ MORE: Suffolk: Campaigners 'thrilled' at Deben bathing status

The group's co-founder Ruth Leach said the council was 'quite rightly' concerned about swimmer safety.

She added: "We have had to postpone it to next year, providing we can find a demarcated 'safe' area to swim at Woodbridge.

"This is because we couldn't secure support from East Suffolk Council who are the landowners. This support is required by Defra to submit an application."

READ MORE: Suffolk: Deben pollution finds 'could help' bathing bid

The status recognises the water is safe for swimmers and means the site will benefit from regular monitoring by the Environment Agency, which will test the water quality and reduce pollutants.

To secure the status, applicants have to demonstrate that there are sufficient swimmers using the water and Ruth revealed that the Defra threshold for usage had been met, with more than 100 swimmers at Woodbridge over a four hour period.

She added she was concerned about delays to improvements to water processing plants which the status would have required, while water testing may not happen for a year.

READ MORE: Woodbridge news 

"As a campaigner I am devastated and frustrated by this situation. The Kafkaesque, bureaucratic, labyrinth in which we find ourselves sabotages our efforts to achieve bathing water status for the environmental protection it offers a river.

"What is really outrageous is that we have to put our physical health on the line in order to achieve a status when the government should act more decisively in terms of pollution, from all sources, that goes into our rivers.

"This includes agricultural land run-off and diffuse urban pollution from our roads as well as treated sewage effluent," Ruth added.

READ MORE: Suffolk news