Cam between Littlebury and Little Chesterford, 19 Oct 2019 (c) Mike Foley
We are horified to discover that the Environment Agency is proposing, once again, to blanket spray herbicide along large stretches of our precious rivers and streams. We object strongly to this, and urge the EA to put their money and resources to better use.
You can see a summary of our progress (or not) below, and a full log here of the reports that we have received of damage caused by blanket herbicide spraying
Update 26 June 2020
We understand that discussions are ongoing in the Environment Agency and hope for a positive outcome. In the meantime we would welcome any further views and evidence from river users to help us press our concerns home and ensure that the funds earmarked for spraying are instead used for positive work to enhance our rivers.
Update 4 June 2020
In early June, we were horrified to discover that the Environment Agency is proposing, once again, to blanket spray herbicide along large stretches of our precious rivers and streams. They say this is “to maintain sinuosity within the channel to help reduce flood risk”
You can see the full list of sites here:EA herbicide proposals 2020
They sent this out for consultation to selected key conservation organisations a few weeks ago, with a deadline for responses of 5 June. However, as many staff are on furlough, it has only just come to our attention.
You can read our formal consultation response here
Environment Agency map showing woodland potential. Dark blue means “very high potential”
The Environment Agency has published a very interesting (but rather clunky) online map of the potential for tree planting.
This shows that they rate much of the land in the Cam Valley as “very high potential” for woodland planting.
Planting lots more trees could be a very attractive way of improving water quality. A Forestry commission expert pointed out to us that even relatively small bands of trees (5-8m wide) can be very important in protecting rivers from contamination by the excess phosphates, nitrates and sprays that would otherwise wash into the river from intensively farmed agricultural land.
In areas with public access he recommends planting willows (not Crack Willow!) Black poplar, Alder, Downey Birch, and lower shrubs, for example Gelder Rose.
The Environment Agency map is available online here . It covers the whole country, and lets you zoom in to see the potential in each tiny little river tributary, which is great. Unfortunately its a bit clunky to use and only works if you’re using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser.
The image of the map above shows of the overview for the Cam Catchment. I have added the names of the key towns to make it easier to understand.
The Environment Agency’s user guide for the map is here