Government policy on gravel removal

The Environment Agency has developed a policy about gravel removal from rivers which is available at See initial paragraph below.

Basically no-one can remove gravel and trees without extensive and expensive ( thousands) paperwork - more work for consultants - and the time and trouble means that local councils, etc. do not and cannot clear rivers as they used to. Only the E.A. can authorise the work with their own authorised contractors ( very expensive - millions ) which used to be done locally by local contractors with minimal paperwork and minimal cost.

There are many other studies concerning river clearance, restoration, wildlife, habitat directive, flood warnings, flood assessment, hydrological, minerals strategy, progress updates, channel maintenance, flooding best practice, flood and water management, Gaunless dam, Morpeth model, River Tay, session 6 20 10, Ripon ES and appendices, Ripon FAS ES NTS and figures, Ripon PAR and many more.

Now we have “ The Natural Choice “ presented to Parliament by the Right Honourable Caroline Spelman MP. I am trying to read this, but it is hard work, a lot of the words are long and unnecessary but in between the basic idea seems wonderful. It’s a pity that not many people will read it because of the jargon, certainly Joe Public will struggle. Using the rivers as wildlife corridors, etc as well as flood prevention seems like a good idea.

These are some of the studies to be found on the net - there are many more see ‘Reports and Regulations’ - if all this time, effort and money was spent working on the rivers flooding would be greatly reduced.

The policy is mainly about preserving wild life and landscape. The powers that be have forgotten one species that has already suffered great disturbance of habitat, loss of life, loss of resources, etc. - ie humans - perhaps caused by lack of government interference. This has all been put right by spending £6.5 Billion in 2007 from the insurance companies, nearly as much as preserving wildlife, etc. - but this is not government money so that is all right then. If a fraction of this money could be spent by local councils doing local river clearance - allowing for wildlife, ask local people - the whole country would be better off.

Environment Agency Policy

Policy Number: 359_04
Policy Statement:
The Environment Agency is generally against the removal of gravel from rivers, other than where
specifically allowed for navigation or proven to be essential in specific locations for flood risk
management or water supply purposes. In these circumstances, and where the environmental
impact is likely to be significant, we will expect proposals to be informed by studies that are
appropriate to the scale of the operation to ensure the practice is both sustainable and
environmentally acceptable over the long term.