The Environment Agency still ‘in discussions’ about fixing a major breach in the river bank

For those who are unaware, a major breach occurred in the bank of the river Wensum upstream of Bintry Milll at some point early last year. It was not properly identified until the end of the summer, at which point the club quickly put together an emergency repair plan to fix the damage.

The breach was in fact a dam above a culvert which had collapsed, allowing the main flow of the river to escape into the marshy areas above the Mill. The culvert had been installed underneath the main river bed at some point in the past, presumably with the aim of draining the marshland adjoining the river, but once the river bank collapsed the main river flow ceased and a ‘new’ river was formed, leading off into the marshes. As a result of this, flow to the Mill ceased and the water has become almost stagnant with the mill race ceasing to run.

The club’s emergency repair plan was completely ignored by the Environment Agency (whose permission was required for implementation) who chose instead to do nothing about the breach other than ‘open discussions with the landowner’. This is a serious issue as the resulting lack of flow on the upper reaches of the fishery has resulted in massive silting of the important trout spawning reads downstream, but not serious enough apparently to require the EA to do anything about it.

We can only hope that the autumn rains have gone some way to clearing the silt, but as luck would have it, this winter has so far had less rainfall than usual. We are still pressing for action, but the latest news is that the situation appears to have deteriorated into an acrimonious dispute, with the club being left out in the cold.

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