The issue of the damage done to a long stretch of the River Lugg at Kingsland should be kept alive and the perpetrator made aware that such behaviour is completely unacceptable. A “tidy” river is not a healthy river. Using heavy machinery to scour the river and its banks which are legally protected as a special area of conservation, ripping out trees and wildlife habitats is destructive vandalism and against the law.

No doubt that the bridge and immediate environs needed attention, but the farmer seems to have interpreted the green light given for such work to include nearly a mile upstream. Flood protection requires specialist knowledge of water dynamics and river maintenance, otherwise it is easy to make things worse.

In order to receive public money farmers have to abide by good farming practices. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) responsible for paying subsidies to landowners and farmers should review the recent management practices of this farmer and reduce his subsidies by a proportionate amount.

At the same time the RPA can encourage this farmer to take advantage of the various publicly funded environmental management schemes to enhance the local landscape and wildlife habitats. Such schemes can be devised to minimise river flow surges by, for example, creating water-retaining marshland, tree planting and allowing the natural regeneration of vegetation on fields adjacent to the banks.

Tony Winch


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