RIVER: Is dredging in order?

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With reference to Gordon Gilchrist’s letter about Wansbeck Country Park/Riverside Park, (News Post Leader, April 14).

I think it was designed as a unique leisure and nature reserve, a more accessible equivalent to Kielder, extending from Sheepwash Weir to the Barrage or Port Milburn at the mouth of the Wansbeck, not just to Stakeford Bridge.

This resource seems to have been neglected since the abolition of the district councils.

On January 6 this year, the river flooded in the park to a similar level to that of the Morpeth floods.

However, the river flow rate was lower this time. Hence, flooding here was due to river silting.

I believe this silting, with tree and other debris, is increasingly restricting Cambois Rowing Club and other users.

I believe they remove some of the obstacles at their own considerable expense, diverting funds from youth leisure and rowing training.

Is this our Olympic legacy?

The river below Black Bridge is nearly unusable.

Wildlife has declined over the last ten years.

The three herons, one of which was pictured on this letters page in February, have all gone since then.

I did a swan count on January 17. There were only four swans, two of which I saw fly off south; they returned two months later.

Seven years ago I counted 100 swans. This declined to 41 in 2014, and 11 last year.

I’ve noted that geese have also declined, also I’ve seen less cormorants since January.

Could pollution be the reason, needing the Environment Agency, in conjunction with the council, to dredge and clean it up?

This should be done before it affects Wansbeck’s internationally endangered species, the white clawed crayfish, and leisure activities.

Alistair Brook

Guide Post