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The Surroundings Agency has been accused of endeavor “scorched earth techniques” after it removed bushes from a 250-metre stretch of a river well liked by anglers.

The semi-wild component of river running thru Taunton, Somerset, used to be a favourite spot for fishermen and well-known for its natural world, in particular kingfishers.

But after work within the ultimate week, the banks of the river at the moment are simply bare earth, with the bulk of timber felled.

Dominic Garnett, 42, an angling guide and instruct, has been visiting the realm since early life and fished the stretch of the river for greater than two decades.

“It used to be a semi-wild stretch of river and so they have channelised it,” he stated.

“it’s completely heartbreaking to see the destruction of the puts you’re keen on – you pass there to be with nature and to escape and it is all just been ripped away. we are just smashing it all up.”

the area is prone to flooding, Mr Garnett mentioned, and claimed that representatives from the surroundings Company had advised him the timber had been felled “as a result of they make the water again up”.

“it’s like they’ve taken an vintage hippie and given him a buzz cut – it’s scorched earth techniques,” he added.

Dominic Garnett fishing within the semi-wild element of the river in Taunton, Somerset, sooner than the timber were felled Credit: Dominic Garnett

The Large swathes of bushes were cleared handiest weeks clear of the nesting season, Mr Garnett stated, with river vegetation dredged out whilst a few species of fish are starting to spawn.

“It makes them prone to predators – fish need puts to hide,” he said.

Mark Barrow, a movie-maker who has specialized in productions concerning the freshwater species within the UK’s rivers and lakes for the earlier two decades, tweeted: “Stunned to search out this lately at the River Tone.

“Whole devastation, courtesy of the surroundings Company. Scorched earth paintings the Russian Military would be proud of!

“Those stumps had been many years old bushes where I used to watch the native kingfisher. The Whole Lot is now disappearing.”

The period of the river ran through marshland until the 1990s, when the encircling land used to be tarmacked to make way for a recreational and shopping advanced, and for housing.

Whilst the complex was initially constructed a big lake was once created, in part, in keeping with Mr Garnett, to “appease” locals angered via the lack of the marshland.

However he says that because of an absence of upkeep, the lake, which could have helped flood regulate efforts, is now silted up and only two or three inches deep in places.

“It’s simply miserable,” Mr Garnett stated.

The Environment Agency said the work was essential to manage flood risk and protect properties in the nearby area The Surroundings Company stated the paintings was once necessary to manage flood possibility and protect homes in the nearby house Credit Score: Dominic Garnett

A spokeswoman for the surroundings Company stated: “Crucial work to control flood risk and give protection to homes in Bathpool and the upstream the city of Taunton is ongoing.

“We all the time paintings to minimise any affect to the surroundings whilst carrying out work and feature measures in position to compensate, reminiscent of new tree planting

“Flooding and coastal erosion could have terrible outcomes for individuals, businesses and the surroundings.

“we are making an investment a file £5.2 billion between 2021-27, developing around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to raised protect 336,000 homes throughout England.”

House to be replanted with local trees

it’s understood the bushes at water stage had been deemed to be making a flood risk by catching particles and restricting the drift of water.

the world is because of be sown with a wild flower seed combine and replanted with local trees.

Dr Nick Chappell, knowledgeable in the hydrological processes related to nature-based totally answers at the School of Lancaster, defined that at the same time as so-called “inexperienced infrastructure” may also be used to mitigate flood risk effectively, it has to be done at the related scale as an engineering venture.

“Herbal solutions don’t seem to be magic, you might have to do enough, and after all there are co-advantages in terms of water high quality, carbon sequestration and biodiversity, however you need to do them on the similar scale as traditional infrastructure schemes,” he stated.

He delivered that as well as delivering discounts in flood chance, it is essential that the environment Agency explains to locals why specific works are undertaken.

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