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Environment Agency orders farm to take steps to prevent pollution of River Gaywood




A dairy farm in Bawsey has been ordered to take “swift and effective” action to prevent possible pollution of the River Gaywood.

Oakwood Farms Ltd has been told to carry out a number of measures to prevent soil run-off entering the chalk river.

The Environment Agency (EA) action comes after contact from North West Norfolk MP James Wild, who was lobbied by Hillington conservationist Russell Biggs.

Last week the Lynn News told how Mr Biggs had become concerned with the colour and possible pollution of the river . One sample he collected was a heavy brown colour and failed to settle or change in appearance in 48 hours.

A sample from the Riveer Gaywood collected by Russell Biggs in August. (42188674)
A sample from the Riveer Gaywood collected by Russell Biggs in August. (42188674)

He also captured video footage which prompted EA officers to contact the farm in Gayton Road.

EA area director Simon Hawkins told Mr Wild in a letter: “We have...instructed them to take immediate swift and effective action to prevent soil run-off from entering the river.”

Officers who attended on September 2 to ensure the work had been undertaken found that two soil bunds had been created.

The River Gaywood at the rear of Oakwood Farms showing a bund which has been created to prevent soil run-off (42188672)
The River Gaywood at the rear of Oakwood Farms showing a bund which has been created to prevent soil run-off (42188672)

The farm was also instructed to immediately put a straw bund around a manure heap and move it to a “more suitable” location in due course.

It was also told to reduce the level of a lagoon, which was full but not overflowing at the time of the officers’ visit.

There was no run-off into the river occurring and no ammonia was detected in it.

Mr Hawkins said: “Officers noted that the river was flowing clear but a culverted watercourse along the old railway was discharging turbid water from the north east demonstrating additional sediment inputs to the Gaywood River.”

The EA says it will carry out a full regulatory farm inspection in due course and encouraged people to report incidents as soon as possible after witnessing them to the 24-hour hotline on 0800 807060.



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