The Environment Agency has started a £400,000 project to remove several tonnes of silt from a stretch of the River Nene in Northamptonshire to help improve access for boats.
Work started today on removing between 6,000 and 7,000 tonnes of silt from a four kilometre stretch of the River Nene upstream of White Mills Lock and a large build-up of material will also be removed from Billing Lock.
As well as improving navigation, the work will also reduce flood risk by increasing the volume of water that can safely flow through the river.
Environment Agency Project manager David Watts, said: “Over time, flows cause silt to build up in the river channel. If left, this silt could make boating difficult or hazardous.
“As navigation authority for the River Nene, we have responsibility to maintain the river for boaters and other river-users.
“This will help to make sure people can continue to enjoy the river ready for the start of this year’s spring and summer boating season.”
The silt removal is being carried out by Environment Agency contractors Interserve. The silt will be removed from the river using an excavator on a barge.
Navigation will be restricted along the river while the works take place to ensure the safety of river users.
Mr watts said: “We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to river traffic. By carrying them out now, we aim to avoid the busiest periods on the boating calendar and keep disruption to a minimum.
“We hope people will understand that we need to carry them out to ensure they can continue to enjoy recreation on the river over the summer and beyond.”