Gaywood River Petition Delivered to EA

Today local campaigners from Extinction Rebellion delivered our petition to ‘restore our Gaywood River chalk stream to full health and beauty’ to the Environment Agency. Over one thousand people signed our petition, including national treasure Stephen Fry which asks the EA to take necessary action into fully investigating what has happened to our beautiful chalk stream, and then take the action needed to restore it to its former glory. 

We gave notice of our intention to deliver the petition to the Environment Agency but they declined to make someone available receive the petition in person. We sent the petition to Sir James Bevan, director of the Environment Agency, by email and also left our hard copy of the petition at the King’s Lynn office. 

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 somewhere along its length. Water quality testing has shown that Phosphate levels in the river are four times higher in Bawsey than the river’s source at Well Hall Lane near Gayton. Phosphates get into rivers via ‘sewage’ or from ‘agricultural run-off’. 

The EA has previously stated that the current state of the river is due to heavy rain and iron content in the soil. This does not explain the increased phosphate levels downstream compared to upstream, nor the presence of sewage fungus. This is why we need the Environment Agency to fully investigate and then take action. We know that in order to do this the government needs to reverse the budget cuts to this important agency. The EA needs more resources, in the words of Boris Johnson “protecting and enhancing nature needs more than good intentions”.