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Planting trees is not the answer

Letters

In your article 'Catchment community' (NCE 2 May), you imply that the silting in the Rivers Tone and Parret is caused by run-off from fields, and that planting trees and changing farming practices will reduce it.

This is not the case. Most of the silt in these rivers originates from the Severn. It washes into the Bristol Channel, hangs around the Somerset coastline and is carried up the River Parret and its tributary the Tone by the incoming tide.

When the tide peaks twice a day, the silt is deposited, most days of the year. The only time that it doesn't happen is during heavy rain when the river is higher than the tide. Clearly, this river is a good candidate for a tidal sluice, since all the other tidal rivers in Somerset have one.

It is odd that the Environment Agency says it is keen to move away from such unsustainable options. The bank strengthening that you illustrate is a scheme that creates a 'large raised reservoir' to enable the deliberate flooding of an area of some 5,307,700m 2with 7,747,500m 3of water which has to be pumped out again.

This area, known as Curry Moor, is a site of special scientific interest, and includes five homes and a busy highway that carries 1,500 vehicles in an average day. Wouldn't dredging the river be a better option?

Tom Jeanes, Lawnmoor Farm, Moor Lane, North Curry, Taunton

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