Trust formed in campaign to revive River Waveney

The campaign to revive rundown sections of the River Waveney will take a significant step forward at the end of this month with the inaugural meeting of a new trust.

Initially known as the River Waveney Association, the trust follows hot on the heels of the Diss River Care Group, which began cleaning sections of the river in Diss in December and will hold its first meeting at the Swan Hotel in Harleston on March 29. The association is expected to form a charitable trust by June.

A website has also been set up at www.riverwaveneytrust.org to provide information about the trust and its aims and objectives.

Author and broadcaster John Wilson MBE will open the inaugural meeting of the trust, which was formed by Harleston sailor Geoff Doggett and fellow river campaigner Dave Gladwell, from Ellingham.

The work of the Diss group will be spread down river, which will include sampling water quality, clearing rubbish, maintaining public spaces, such as the pocket parks at Scole and Homersfield and working with the Environment Agency, Broads Authority and water companies.

The trust will be empowered to secure funding and manage assets such as small pockets of land along the river and will follow the guidelines of the National Rivers Trust, which guards the health of rivers across England.

Local residents and organisations and societies which have an interest in the river are being encouraged to join the trust.

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Mr Doggett said the majority of the Waveney and its tributaries had failed to achieve good ecological status under the EU Water Framework Directive, with excessive weed growth choking sections of the river around Bressingham, Diss and Scole and rubbish being left uncleared around the river behind supermarkets in Victoria Road, Diss.

He added the trust would be working with a host of organisations including the Rivers Trust, Broads Authority, Essex and Suffolk Water, South Norfolk Council, Environment Agency and Mid-Suffolk District Council.

'The trust will provide a forum for the communities up and down the river and the Waveney valley to talk about anythinto do with the river. Our members will be providing working parties and voluntary help to maintain the river and provide an organisation where local statutory authorities such as the Environment Agency can meet and discuss plans with the local community,' Mr Doggett said.

Over 20 volunteers from the Diss River Care Group collected 20 bin liners full of rubbish from behind the Tesco store in Victoria Road during the first clean up in December and the group holds monthly clean ups of the area around the river.

To join the trust, visit the above website. Membership is free for all joining before the end of May.

For more information, email Mr Doggett at geoff@smartangles.com or phone him on 01379 853464.

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