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Boat users anger at muddy Deben water

PUBLISHED: 02:00 22 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

VERY wet weather and extra dredging has led to increased complaints from boat users about the amount of mud clogging up the River Deben.

Members of the River Deben Association warned at their General Meeting in Woodbridge that the amount of silt has become worse at Kyson Point and Waldringfield.

VERY wet weather and extra dredging has led to increased complaints from boat users about the amount of mud clogging up the River Deben.

Members of the River Deben Association warned at their General Meeting in Woodbridge that the amount of silt has become worse at Kyson Point and Waldringfield.

Association chairman Anthony Mason says that dredging must be monitored to ensure that problems experienced by some boatyards are not just moved from one place to another.

Mr Mason, writing in the Association's newsletter, said both the Woodbridge Dock Company and Waldringfield Boatyard have used the same contractor to drag mud away and spread it out into the river on the ebb tide.

''The mud is removed by dropping a steel plate held in the vertical position by steel shafts into the mud and pulling it with steel cables by a very manoeuvrable boat. The question of course is 'where will the mud finish up?"

Mr Mason said that sticky mud had been deposited at Waldringfield and this was ''quite unpleasant'' for everyone.

''The mud sticks to shoes but you can not prove where it is coming from. In Woodbridge the river is a marvellous facility, it is an area of character, but it has silted up a lot in the last 25 years. People are a little concerned about what is happening and it would seem right to take this silt and pump it ashore. In Waldringfield the river was silting up alongside the quay and this was making it difficult to get boats in there.''

This year's unusually heavy rain has led to water coming off the agricultural land and bringing mud with it into the river. The River Deben is also increasingly popular with boat users from Suffolk and the Continent and the extra number of boats is affecting the natural evolution of the river. They create more wash than the old barges.

Woodbridge Quay Company has removed 1,000 tons of mud from the dock because the area had silted up so much that the directors feared boats would be unable to access the harbour. This is roughly equivalent to two feet over a third of the dock area and director Frank Knights says that this brings the water down to the same level as in 1975. The company wants to take out a further 1,500 tons next year.

The company decided to shift the mud after it was told by the Environment Agency that the company's preferred option of putting the mud onto land near the railway station could not go-ahead until expensive tests were taken to establish the amount of pollution in the mud.

Mr Knights said it was more likely that mud taken from the dock would be carried in suspension through Loder's Cut and would by-pass Kyson Point. ''The Environment Agency should have allowed us to do what we wanted to do in the first place. The whole thing has been ridiculous,'' he said.

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