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Environment Agency| Environment Agency

Environment Agency| Environment Agency

River Tone before removal of trees.

The Environment Agency took down trees along a 250-metre stretch in Somerset’s River Tone as part of flood management measures. Anglers are devastated.

Taunton’s semi-wild river section was a popular spot among wildlife-lovers and anglers. Kingfishers were often seen there. However, the majority were felled last week, leaving only the river banks as they are today.

River Tone before removal of trees.
River Tone before trees were removed.Photograph by Dominic Garnett/PA

Dominic Garnett (42), an angling guide, coach, and fisherman, has fished the river stretch for the past twenty years. He has been fishing the river since childhood. It was a semiwild stretch of river and they channelized it, he explained to PA. It is heartbreaking to see the destruction in the places you love.

The river ran through marshland up to the 1990s when it was tarmacked to make room for housing and a leisure/shopping complex.
Garnett stated that flooding is now a possibility in the area. Garnett stated that while woodland planting is often used to mitigate floods, representatives from the Environment Agency told him that the trees were felled as they make the water rise again. It’s like they took an old hippie and gave him a buzz cut.

He pointed out that large swathes had been cleared of trees just weeks before nesting season. River plants were dredged out at the beginning of spawning season for some species of fish. He said that it makes them vulnerable to predators because they need places to hide.

Dominic Garnett says the trees were cleared weeks before the nesting season.
Dominic Garnett said that the trees were cleared several weeks before the nesting period.Photograph by Dominic Garnett/PA

Mark Barrow, a film-maker specializing in productions on freshwater species in UK rivers and lakes, has been with us for 20 years. TweetHe was stunned to see the scene at the River Tone. The Environment Agency is responsible for causing complete destruction. Scorched earth work that the Russian army would be proud to display! These stumps were from decades ago, where I used to observe the local kingfisher. Everything is disappearing.

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A spokeswoman from the Environment Agency stated: The Environment Agency is continuing essential work to manage flood risks and protect properties in Bathpool, Taunton and upstream towns.
We strive to minimize any environmental impact when we work. We have compensatory measures, such as tree plantings, in place. Flooding and coastal erosion can have devastating effects on people, businesses, and the environment.
It is believed that the trees at the water level were considered to be a flood risk because they caught debris and restricted water flow. The area will be sown with wild flower seed mixture and replanted using native trees.

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