This has taken some working out - there is too much wrong with this river. Most of the width is far less than that of the bridges so any flood water must overflow the banks and fill the flood plain. Most of the big bridges in flood pictures are not even full so the fault is probably in the capacity of the river. The EA, or anybody else for that matter, is not allowed by law to clear a waterway as water voles, crayfish, et al might have their habitat disturbed. Until this is resolved by the politicians and MPs the flooding will get worse. See "Why Britain floods" on the main site.
The bridges around Stoke are mainly 10 -13m wide whereas the river is 3.5 - 8m. Around Nottingham the bridges are up to 200m while the river is 50 - 80m.
There is difficulty measuring the river width when the measures are small as there are problems when there are trees and weed but the basic idea is there.
I cannot tell if the river banks slope down to the water and when narrow this will be important, but using Google street view the river appears to have near vertical banks. Also the river widths by Google varies with the amount of water - it is maximum when the river floods! This may be due to flooding over the years raising the banks and leveling the floodplain - 1m gravel in one flood below Cockermouth. The normal river level will then cut down vertically. Why do the banks not wash into the river to form a sloping bank similar to newly the dredged banks in Somerset? Anybody got any ideas?.
Above Stoke the river is very narrow and seems to disappear in places
At Stoke and below places on the river that may be causing flooding are as follows:-
Gauging station by Tenterhill footpath, Stoke - 4m wide near 10m bridge
Bottom Lytton Rd, Stoke - river is narrower than the bridge and flowing round several buildings, etc
Culvert behind Stoke town hall - 4m, bridges upstream are 7m
Off Queensway, Stoke - 3.5m at one point
Meaford carpark - someone has built the car park actually out to the middle of the river
Aston Br, - at 13m is only one third the width of nearby bridge. Bridge up 31m, down 38m
Salt Br, - similar to above. At 17m, half width. Bridge up 38m, down 28m
Hoomill Lane, - at 8m this doesn't belong on this river at all
Haywood Mill Br, - at 12m, the 29m aqueduct is 110m downstream
Alrewas Br, - modern baillie bridge 21m. Bridge up 75m, down 73m.
River Leen - 4m? at outfall, 12m old bridge at Bulwell 7km upstream
Willford flood wall, Nottingham - See aerial photo compared with Google
Colwick Sluice - narrower than Nottingham bridges and maintains river levels which could be lower before a flood
more details further into the site.
Many thanks to Google Earth, Bing maps, Panoramio, Geograph.
I have included a sequencial list of measurements of the river showing the bridge widths ( bold numbers ) and the narrowest river widths ( measures are up or downstream from bridges ). The old stone bridges are in bold and these would have been built originally to cope with any expected flood water - many bridges were damaged in 1795. The bridges further downstream have flood arches and are these are included in the widths. Also shown are side rivers and the first bridge as often the Trent bridges increase to allow for the increased flow. Exceptionally narrow points on the river itself have an question marks. Surely the river width should have some semblance to the bridges.