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How rod licence money restored river water at Sudbury

PUBLISHED: 16:58 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:05 03 January 2020

The stretch of the river after work was carried out Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

The stretch of the river after work was carried out Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Work to restore a stretch of river in Sudbury and encourage wildlife to flourish has been completed.

The stretch of river before the work was carried out Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYThe stretch of river before the work was carried out Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

The project at the River Stour by Friars Meadow involved clearing vegetation and silt from the water, as well as tree surgery and bridge repairs.

It was a case of team work involving the Environment Agency (EA), Sudbury and Long Melford District Angling Association and Sudbury Common Lands group and was funded by £10,000 of fishing licence money.

The improvements have increased refuge and spawning areas for fish and nesting sites for birds, and the Environment Agency said it hopes there will now be increased opportunities for anglers.

Ben Norrington, Environment Agency fisheries officer in East Anglia, said: "We are really pleased with how this partnership project has gone.

Ben Norrington, fisheries officer for the Environment Agency, during the work. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYBen Norrington, fisheries officer for the Environment Agency, during the work. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

"The river has been regenerated to encourage better habitat and to also create recreational fishing opportunities. This section of river has been historically fished by various angling clubs for over 50 years and will hopefully be an asset that can be fished again."

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John Weddup, secretary and treasurer of the angling association, which has about 250 members, said they had been working hard for some time to achieve the improvements.

He said: "The backwater had filled up with weeds and vegetation to the point where it was becoming a stagnant mess, but it's a great spawning site for fish, for birds to nest and a great site for wildlife."

Mr Weddup said by clearing the vegetation it also provided places of refuge for the fish, which is particularly important during flooding when the fast flow of the river can wash them to the sea.

He described fish levels as "quite low" overall, but the improvement works to the river should help increase the population.

"The fish are important to the angling club members, but from my point of view running the club and as an environmentalist they are the key to the whole ecosystem," he said.

"We are very much a river-based angling club. We are looking at lots of environmental aspects as well."

The angling club works closely with the EA to look after the river system, for example monitoring oxygen levels in the water.


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