Concerns over river dredging

CONCERNS have been raised with the Environment Agency about whether the River Gipping will be dredged - after serious flooding hit Needham Market in May.

In spite of a £200,000 grant for maintaining the channel of the river, Mid Suffolk Ditrict Councillor Wendy Marchant said all that seems to have happened so far is the routine annual weed cutting.

A meeting has been organised between councillors and Dr Charles Beardall of the Environment Agency to discuss when the vital work to the river will begin.

Cllr Marchant said she wanted to be assured the river will be desilted to bring the river back to its original depth, and so prevent further flooding.

She said: “All that seems to be happening at the moment is the routine cutting of the reeds on the river bank. “We are hoping they are going to dredge the river to desilt it.

“Over time the river has built up and it breaks the banks when we have very heavy rainfall.

“People’s houses have been flooded in the past so it is great of concern in the town.

“Crown Street was like a river in May.

“It was unsual circumstances but we are finding unusual circumstances happening more and more all over the country.

“We would just like to be more prepared in the future.”

Cllr Marchant is meeting with Dr Beardall on September 19 to speak about the concerns she has.

A full public meeting at Needham Market Community Centre will be held to discuss flood defence at 5pm the following day.

Representatives from the Environment Agency, Anglia Water, Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Needham Market Town Council will be attending.

A Environment Agency spokeswoman said : “The money had been allocated for work including vegetation clearance and desilting.”