Blue Wave at Gaywood River

Today eighteen protesters came together in the Walks to express their shock and sadness about the recent and ongoing pollution flowing into the Gaywood River. Part of our continued campaign over the last two and a half years to raise awareness of the poor health of the precious chalk stream. Following the news this week that raw sewage was released into the Gaywood River for a total of 1651 hours last year, along with the recent disaster of oil being dumped into the rare habitat, just the most recent example of years of pollution, members of the group felt compelled to act. 

Yards of blue fabric were used to represent the beautiful clear water which should be flowing through the stretch of Gaywood River which meanders through the walks. Volunteers from XR formed a procession with the flowing blue fabric around the stretch of the river, while others talked to curious passers by and handed out flyers. 

Julia Irving, who led the blue wave, said “Our protest was sparked off by a recent incident of oil and other waste going  into the Gaywood River. We were shocked and outraged to see this going on. We wanted to make sure that people living in King’s Lynn were aware of the pollution in the Gaywood river and invite them to become guardians of the river and report issues to the Environment Agency.” 

The river has been plagued by pollution, over abstraction, and neglect from responsible authorities. The Gaywood River is a tale of two chalk streams. Upstream is in good health, it has crystal clear water and flourishing plant life. While downstream is another matter; the water is murky, plants are dying off and there is algae overgrowth. All signs of very poor river health. 

The river used to be crystal clear water and teeming with life, you could even watch brown trout swimming in the stream at The Walks. Now the river is murky, lifeless, and filled with fungus. Which suggests it’s being polluted along its length. Ongoing water quality testing by independent groups consistently shows Phosphate levels in the river are higher downstream than the river’s source. Phosphates get into rivers via ‘sewage’ or from ‘agricultural run-off’. 

We are asking local people to keep a close eye and report any pollution in the river they see to the Environment Agency on their free 24hr incident hotline at 0800 80 70 60. The Environment Agency has failed to prevent the ongoing pollution in the years we have been campaigning on this, we are calling for the Agency to finally act to protect the health of the river. They need to name and shame, and prosecute the perpetrators of pollution.