Thousands of tons worth of gravel is being removed from the River Greta at Keswick as part of efforts to reduce the risk of flooding during the colder winter months. The Environment Agency has started the dredging works, which will see a total of 6000 tons extracted.
Lynne Jones from Keswick Flood Action Group said:
“Everybody worries when the gravel’s being built up. It’s a huge relief to have this routinely removed.”
“It’s obviously a problem because the river goes round in three right angle bends, delivers all the gravel into the beds and then it blocks the culverts behind us, particularly since Desmond because there’s been so much damage upstream, you know there’s so much rock coming down all the time. And it’s a great way to recycle really because all this rock that’s taken out is actually used again.”
Lynne Jones, Keswick Flood Action Group
Dredging rivers is controversial as it can affect spawning grounds for fish or the habitats of the plants, mammals and birds. The gravel will only be taken from from certain areas of the River Greta.
Pete Miles, from the Environment Agency, said:
“Before we undertake any of this work we undertake surveys for wildlife and it’s all done with our own biodiversity and geomorphology colleagues.”
“So each year we undertake a survey, we estimate (calculate) how much gravel to take out and then we come in in September as part of our winter readiness programme and remove the gravel so that it doesn’t have that negative impact on flooding in the winter.”
Pete Miles, Environment Agency
The flood defence walls are built, so Keswick is much better armed against flooding than it was pre-Storm Desmond.
But we are still urged not to be complacent. 6,000 tonnes of gravel means the River Greta is that much further away from front doors.
This article has been taken from ITV and can be found here. There is also an additional video clip that can be viewed.