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Chalk stream study is welcomed by campaigners

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One of Norfolk’s rare chalk streams which campaigners say is under threat from pollution and abstraction is to be the subject of a new study, writes Owen Sennitt, Local Democracy reporter.West Norfolk Council has agreed to spend £10,000 towards the investigation into the Gaywood River catchment area, which will be conducted in conjunction with King’s Lynn Internal Drainage Board (IDB) and other agencies.It aims to primarily look at how to improve flood risk management and study the health of the river.

The uncut chalk stream banks at Derby Fen. Picture: Gaywood River Revival.

The waterway, which rises from springs near Derby Fen to the east of the town before flowing out towards The Wash and discharging into the River Great Ouse, has become the focus of concern among environmental groups.Campaigners like the Gaywood River Revival have called for a rethink on how the river is managed, arguing that annual dredging of certain sections is causing significant damage to habitats.While the King’s Lynn IDB say it is necessary to protect against flooding. A professional contractor will undertake the study before making recommendations for the future and further funding for the research is yet to be secured.Norfolk Rivers Trust and Anglian Water are also involved with the project. A spokesperson for Gaywood River Revival said: “Having called for the Water Management Alliance and King’s Lynn Internal Drainage Board (KLIDB) to use an evidence-based approach to flood risk management on the Gaywood for some time, we are delighted that West Norfolk Council is supporting a study of the Gaywood River catchment.“The study is significant as it marks a change in long-term strategy from the KLIDB that will address flood risk whilst at the same time helping to improve and restore the Gaywood’s chalk stream ecology.”

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