Villagers’ support for Lugg riverbank destruction

VILLAGERS have come out in support of work that has caused devastating damage to a bank of the river Lugg.

Kingsland Parish Council, which represents the local community, has released a statement confirming that it is aware of this week’s incident at Kingsland, which has provoked a national outcry.

The parish council said it has been in talks with the Environment Agency, and agency officers have attended online council meetings recently.

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The council said: “A site meeting with the agency in September 2020 identified issues near the bridge, and the Environment Agency subsequently wrote that “the left hand bank directly upstream of the bridge could do with some reprofiling due to bank slumping… to ease conveyance as it is currently partially obstructing the third arch of the bridge and will look to the landowner to carry out these works”.

Another issue highlighted by the Environment Agency was “a build-up of silt and growth mostly Himalayan balsam on both the upstream and downstream sides,” the council said.

“The parish council supports work to improve the Lugg that is undertaken at the direction and instigation of the Environment Agency and is in line with the appropriate guidelines, regulations and processes that may be applicable.”

Minutes of Kingsland Parish Council meetings from July, September and October of this year contain items about the “maintenance of the Lugg”.

In July, an item reported on concerns about the risk of river flooding.

It was noted that trees and branches in the river might need removing, “this includes the ash tree by Lugg Green bridge which Environment Agency is already aware of.

“The size of this tree may mean it is not removed but moved and placed in a suitable area at the side of the river.

“Doubtful if more significant flood defences would happen given the relatively low number of properties affected – flood defence budgeting at the EA is prioritised by collective value of property affected.”

In October Councillor Susan Rowsell reported on “a very useful” walkabout along the river with the Environment Agency.

An officer from the Environment Agency told the meeting that riparian owners [someone who owners a property bordering a river] are responsible for maintenance, but that it “may be beyond their capability at times”

Coun Sebastian Bowen, who is also chairman of Herefordshire Council, said Balfour Beatty had been told about the need to remove silt from the third arch of the Lugg bridge. The highway authority is responsible for the watercourse under bridges and roads.

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Hereford Times