Mitigating the impact of riverside works by the Environment Agency

Sometimes it is necessary for the Environment Agency to do works along our riverbanks to reduce the risk of future flooding. These can include removing poorly rooted trees (so they do not subsequently wash downriver and block bridges), removing vegetation from flood banks (to enable proper maintenance and to reduce the potential for breaching the floodbank) and so on.

These works have caused problems in the past and, whilst things are improving, we believe that there is room for further improvement in how the EA mitigates for any adverse effect of essential maintenance. The report available via this link illustrates some of the mitigation already being undertaken, and they should be congratulated for this work. However, I have to comment that “Retention of occasional overhanging willow for fish cover” or “Retention of cover for fish” does not in my opinion count as mitigation.

Mitigation is a positive action designed to reduce the effects of some other potentially detrimental action. It is not doing nothing somewhere else.

We share The Wild Trout Trust’s concern that insufficient work is being undertaken to mitigate the local effects of these works, and will be talking with the EA about how to make further improvements in their operations.