Sludge deposits will not be moved

PUBLISHED: 17:30 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

TONS of sludge dumped after a brook was dredged, will stay rotting near a public footpath. Potton Town Council says they have had no official complaints about the sludge from Potton Brook left at Bury Fields by the Bedfordshire and River Ivel Internal Dra

TONS of sludge dumped after a brook was dredged, will stay rotting near a public footpath.

Potton Town Council says they have had no official complaints about the sludge from Potton Brook left at Bury Fields by the Bedfordshire and River Ivel Internal Drainage Board, but will act on any protests.

But one local resident, who did not want to be named, said: "It is disgraceful. We have all this sludge dumped not far from homes on a stretch of grass where people walk and children play.

"It should have been taken away in the first place."

But the drainage board says that under European law they cannot dump it in a landfill site.

Barry Easom, clerk to the drainage board, said: "The Land Drainage Act supports the board in depositing arisings (sludge and silt) from a water course on adjacent land. In fact our difficulties increase when we remove the material from the site.

"At this stage it becomes waste and is subject to waste regulations. Unfortunately, UK interpretation of European Waste Regulations has resulted in silt from a watercourse being designated as liquid waste and such waste cannot be sent direct to a landfill site.

"The board do check the silt for pollution and in this instance I am informed that nothing of concern was evident.

"The board's prime objective in urban areas is to reduce flood risk to properties. As a local body controlled by local people we will always attempt to provide this service in accordance with local aspirations.

"Board members are aware of residents' concerns and will evaluate the situation at their next meeting."

The board says properties along the course of Potton Brook are at risk from flooding which is why they carry out regular maintenance on the brook.

"When the houses at Bury Fields were proposed the board made it quite clear that provision would have to be made for maintenance operations," added Mr Easom.

"Hence a strip of land adjacent to the watercourse was set aside principally for the board's operations. A low fence was erected so as not to obstruct our access and footpaths were constructed so that heavy track laying machinery could access the site.

"Areas were left clear of planting so that materials from the brook could be deposited within the reach of the machine in accordance with the Land Drainage Act.

"Maintenance operations have been limited in recent years to flailing banks and minor clearance of the bed.

"The board's engineers considered additional work was required this year and it is expected some removal of silt will be required every five years.


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