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'Why aren't rivers dredged?'

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: September 13, 2012

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AFTER a summer of repeated flooding in and around the Levels, the chairman of Langport Town Council has hit out at the Environment Agency for not clearing water from farmers' land.

Several farmers, particularly in and around Muchelney, have been left with water logged fields and Chris Osborne asked why the rivers were no long being dredged.

He said: "All the rivers used to be dredged but why don't they do it now?

"When it was the Somerset River Board the work was done properly but now they are more worried about the beetles."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said the process was costly and it no longer had the equipment.

He said: "We did in the past dredge the rivers but we found it to be very expensive and not cost effective.

"The other problem with dredging is that you can shift the problem further downstream.

"We have to look at the problem and make sure we don't pass on the problem to other land owners."

He said the agency had come to the conclusion that dredging was only a "quick fix" and it also damaged wildlife by pumping stagnant water back into the river, killing fish.

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