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King's Lynn campaigners put up blue plaques along Gaywood River to highlight pollution





Campaigners from the environmental group Extinction Rebellion demonstrated on Saturday in Lynn against river pollution and the voting record of MP James Wild on the matter.

Blue plaques were put up along parts of the Gaywood River to highlight the North West Norfolk MP's voting record on waterway pollution.

Plaques were put up at certain points along the river, including the Walks, Eastgate Bridge, Lynnsport, Stone Bridge and the Conservative Club.

The group place plaques at different places along the Gaywood River
The group place plaques at different places along the Gaywood River

However, Mr Wild says he is working with Norfolk Rivers Trust and other organisations to help improve this river and labelled the exercise a "misleading stunt". He blamed problems on a Victorian infrastructure and said he had voted to make water companies take steps to significantly reduce the storm overflows which cause river pollution.

Extinction Rebellion campaigner Robert Shippey, 31, said: "Our waterways are so important to our environment and local community. We can’t stand by and watch them being dumped into.

"I know so many local people are unhappy with the condition the Gaywood River is in. Why does this government keep protecting company profits over nature?"

Members of the Extinction Rebellion group
Members of the Extinction Rebellion group

The 11 members of the group were demonstrating about North West Norfolk MP James Wild’s voting record on pollution into our waterways across the country, and the health of Gaywood River chalk stream.

They say Conservative MPs voted for new environmental targets on water pollution which allow companies to continue to pollute for 15 more years.

A representative from Extinction Rebellion said: "Our water ways, including Gaywood River, are already in a dire state and can’t suffer over a decade more pollution."

According to the group the Gaywood chalk stream, which used to be in good health, is now a tale of two rivers.

One of the blue plaques
One of the blue plaques

The group describes that upstream, near the chalk aquifer source, the water is crystal clear, flourishing with various plant life, insects and fish. However, they say downstream is a different story, with the water brown and the variety of life replaced with algae blooms and sewage fungus which indicate poor health and pollution.

In response, Mr Wild told the Lynn News: “The use of storm overflows is unacceptable which is why I voted for action by this government in the Environment Act to make water companies take steps to significantly reduce them. That includes requiring the largest ever investment - £56billion - by those companies to improve water infrastructure.

“Unfortunately, due to Victorian infrastructure, the alternatives to overflows are also unpleasant such as sewage backing up into toilets in people’s homes and businesses. Sadly there is no quick fix to this problem but major investment and new powers mean water companies and regulators should now be held to account to deliver.

11 members put blue plaques along the Gaywood River
11 members put blue plaques along the Gaywood River

“As part of the Gaywood River Improvement Group, I’m working with Norfolk Rivers Trust and other organisations to help improve this river. It is disappointing that others choose to engage in misleading stunts rather than work constructively to fix this problem for the long term.”

Members of the Extinction Rebellion group demonstrated on Saturday regarding water pollution in the Gaywood River. Photo: Extinction Rebellion
Members of the Extinction Rebellion group demonstrated on Saturday regarding water pollution in the Gaywood River. Photo: Extinction Rebellion
Blue plaques were place at various points in Lynn including the Conservative Club
Blue plaques were place at various points in Lynn including the Conservative Club
Members of the Extinction Rebellion group demonstrated on Saturday regarding water pollution in the Gaywood River (62121677)
Members of the Extinction Rebellion group demonstrated on Saturday regarding water pollution in the Gaywood River (62121677)
Members of the Extinction Rebellion group are against the vote in Parliament to allow pollution into rivers
Members of the Extinction Rebellion group are against the vote in Parliament to allow pollution into rivers
The blue plaques highlight a vote to allow pollution into rivers and waterways
The blue plaques highlight a vote to allow pollution into rivers and waterways

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