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River planning on Countryfile

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Last night’s BBC Countryfile featured a project on the River Trent being managed by a partnership between the Environment Agency (EA) and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (SWT).

This project will see part of the River Trent diverted through the Victoria Ground, which was the home ground of Stoke City football club from 1878 until 1997.

Matt Lawrence, project manager for the EA, was interviewed to explain how the work will see a once heavily polluted stretch of England’s third longest river transformed into a naturalised channel.

The existing concrete river channels were built during the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century to carry away sewage entering the river, and these concrete channels today still lack habitats for wildlife.

The diversion, which means the river is being moved along the edge of the old football ground and linking to a healthier stretch of river 500ms away, is already paying dividends. Countryfile showed biodiversity officer Jess Andrews finding mayfly larvae and bullheads in the much clearer waters at the lower end of the diversion site.

Richard Guy, project manager for SWT, also explained how tree roots in the newly created river banks are being used to provide habitats for small fish and mammals.

Learn more about the work, which is part of the SUNRISE project, and watch the episode of Countryfile (from 18:05).

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  1. Comment by Roger Cartwright posted on

    I first became concerned about environmental pollution in about 1949, when I and my school pal Frank had paddled down the River Derwent in our kayak to join the River Trent and somewhere near Shardlow we went past a power station with giant cooling towers that obviously were not enough, as the water joining the river was hot and steaming and caused bubbles on the hull of our canoe.

    So glad to see these further improvements to the river Trent and would add that improvements to our rivers, helped by the Environment Agency has been one of the environmental success storiesin Britain. We lived in Northumberland beside the River Tyne in the early 1970's and at that time the joke was that if you fell in to the river at Newcastle you would more likely be poisened than drowned. Although there were plenty of trout where we lived, there were no salmon but when my same friend and his wife came to live at Hexham (some time after 2000), one of the attractions is that the Tyne is now a great salmon river again!

  2. Comment by William Hughes-Games posted on