LETTER: River Adur is choking with no dredging

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In the event, it was generally agreed that flooding of Somerset Levels a year or so ago was due in large part to its undredged rivers.

Why is it, at a time of increasing flood danger to Shoreham, we never see any dredging of the River Adur?

Admittedly, the Somerset problem was one of standing rainwater run-off, while Shoreham’s is that of flood tide containment, but doesn’t it apply in both cases that a dredged out, deep river, able to accommodate more water vertically, reduces its need to expand horizontally?

Just when did it cease to be other than common sense to keep river channels clear and if dredging is good for Somerset, why not for Sussex?

To any others still around who worked directly on or around the Adur in the late 1950s and ’60s, it is all too obvious the river is choking up. The section nearest the town has much more riverbed visible at low neap tides than ever was at low springs.

I refer to the stretch of river between Adur Ferry Bridge and Norfolk Bridge, which in the 1960s had two equal, clearly defined channels running even at low springs; with just a seven to eight foot wide, shallow mudbank island down the centre.

Take a look now from Adur Ferry Bridge at low water. There is only a single channel running, on the town side. The island that once was has now built up and appears joined to the higher houseboat level of salting to its south.

Although this section has always been the town’s low tide crossing point, as we no longer require horses to pull cars across it, isn’t it about time this undoubted tidal bottleneck was dredged out, to make us better able to deal with all these ‘supertides’ various voices of doom keep promising us?

I have lived on the Adur since 1962 and have never seen any dredging west of Emerald Quay. Needless to say, I am not surprised we have flood problems along the Adur, given that much of it hasn’t been properly dredged for 55 years.

And while we should all rejoice that the benefits of dredging rivers has now been rediscovered in Somerset, I would suggest those of us in Sussex should seriously question the wisdom of continuing to assume the authorities always know best.

I wonder if they still do in Somerset?

Colin Burgoyne



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