Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Dredging river is 'waste of time'

Flooding near Tewkesbury in July 2007
More than 500 businesses were affected by the July 2007 floods

Calls for the River Severn in Gloucestershire to be dredged to stop flooding have been rejected.

Some residents who live near the river said flood problems had worsened since regular clearance was stopped some years ago.

But the Environment Agency said dredging would be a waste of time and too costly.

In summer 2007 the county saw one of its worst ever cases of flooding when the River Severn burst its banks.

Flow faster

Phil Awford, from Tirley near Tewkesbury, who is vice chairman of the National Flood Forum, said: "There is this feeling up and down the county that dredging is very vital.

"My personal experience, having grown up along the River Severn, is that there is a far shallower channel than used to be the case."

But Anthony Perry, from the Environment Agency, said: "When you take out the silt it's replaced with water, so you don't actually reduce the river level.

"The benefits of dredging are negligible.

"If you smooth up the bed of the river it will flow faster but in practice, by the time you have started dredging and moved down, by the time you've got to the end you'd be starting again.

"There would be quite an environmental disruption because you have to dispose of the material, so there's very little benefit."



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