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Silt pollution destroys trout spawning areas

Following the disastrous breach in the bank of the River Wensum upstream of Bintry Mill two years ago, we now have a massive silt problem downstream of the mill.

When the bank collapsed, the main flow of the river was diverted into an existing drain, effectively creating a new, temporary, river. All the sand and silt resulting from two years of gouging out a new channel through the drain is now in the main river and effectively covering about half a mile of riverbed.

At the time of the incident, BMTF immediately contacted the Environment Agency and offered to fix the riverbank breach, but we were told in no uncertain terms that any interference would result in prosecution and the EA would fix it. It took them two years to get around to doing what amounted to three hours’ work for a team of 3 and a digger.

large areas of what was once pristine chalk stream gravel are now covered in a mixture of sand and mud, all washed into the river from a drainage ditch when the bank was breached.

The resulting pollution has virtually destroyed the spawning gravel on what was a prime stretch of chalk stream with a thriving population of wild trout and about half a mile of river is now almost empty of fish.

If you want to see the full horror go to:

Needless to say we have been on to the Environment Agency again to try and get them to sort their mess out and they have denied all liability, but offered to consider ‘helping us’ to remove some of the offending silt. We will have to wait and see, let’s hope it’s not another two years!



This area was once first class spawning gravel


The club will be carrying out the usual programme of gravel jetting this autumn to clear as much spawning gravel as we can, but this can only be of limited, local effectiveness as sand and silt can only be pushed downstream by this method, not fully removed from the river.

The club committee is asking all members and day ticket visitors to provide as much information as possible on their returns to enable them to plan whatever remedial action is available to us.