Clear the waterways

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The public have been made aware of one of the most important factors concerning the disastrous flooding in certain areas of England.

It is the complete lack of dredging in our waterways.

These have, over a great number of years, been allowed to silt up, thereby constricting natural drainage.

This has been recognised by landowners and farmers alike.

The thousands of unfortunate people involved in this tragedy should take note.

It is because of the law passed by the EU in 2000, the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Dredging has been deemed an offence against the environment and has been consigned to near oblivion.

Why has dredging not been continued as of old we ask?

The EU WFD demand, that rivers are kept in undisturbed natural condition, transferred responsibility back to farmers and landowners.

The sting in the tail is that no one is allowed to dredge without permission from the Environment Agency, which has signed up to the EU green agenda.

This very rarely allows dredging.

Should it be allowed, the resultant sand, silt and gravel recovered must be labelled as controlled waste.

It can no longer be left on the river bank.

Disposing of all this waste would be hugely expensive.

Who would shoulder the cost?

Considering that the rivers remain the same, undredged, the same catastrophic situation will occur year after year.

Barriers are not the answer.

They just relocate the water to other areas.

The Government should now make clearance of waterways its first priority and apportion money in that direction.

J W Bearby,

Tarnston Road,

Hartlepool.