Solar powered drinking troughs set to improve water quality on River Colne

PUBLISHED: 6 November 2023

A collaborative effort involving Colchester City Council, the Environment Agency, and Essex Wildlife Trust has begun at Cymbeline Meadows. The initiative aims to address the damage caused by cows drinking directly from the River Colne and its effect on the river's ecosystem. A river restoration project will take place, including the installation of solar-powered pumps to provide drinking water for cattle.

Cymbeline Meadows, a natural area renowned for its scenic beauty, has been grappling with the challenges of soil erosion on the riverbanks due to the weight of heavy animals drinking from the river. This, in turn, has caused sedimentation and compromised water quality. Excessive nutrients from animal waste entering the river increases the growth of plants like duckweed. This joint initiative is set to rejuvenate the meadow's environment and enhance its water quality.

Key components of the project include the installation of solar-powered drinking troughs, designated drinking bays, fencing to protect the riverbanks, and the strategic use of coir rolls to narrow the river. These efforts will enhance water quality, reduce animal waste in the river and promote the recovery of local biodiversity.

The restoration project will be carried out in phases, with active involvement from volunteers, contractors appointed by Colchester City Council, and community engagement initiatives. It aims to not only address the immediate environmental challenges but also create long-term sustainability and raise public awareness about the importance of preserving natural habitats.

As a result of these efforts, Cymbeline Meadows is expected to regain its status as a thriving and ecologically rich area, benefiting the environment, local communities, and water users downstream.

Cllr Andrea Luxford Vaughan, Colchester City Council Portfolio Holder for Planning, Environment and Sustainability, said: “The Cymbeline Meadows Restoration Project embodies our dedication to sustainable land management and clean rivers. By implementing innovative solutions and engaging our community, we are taking a significant step toward revitalising this precious ecosystem."

Kirk Markham, fisheries specialist at the Environment Agency, said: “It is great to collaborate with the council and other partners on this project which will improve water quality, help wildlife to thrive and prevent damage to the river.”

Darren Tansley, Wilder Rivers and Protected Species Manager at Essex Wildlife Trust, added: “By restoring the river channel and protecting the banks this partnership project is providing fantastic habitat for water voles, which were reintroduced to the river in 2010.”

The Cymbeline Meadows Restoration Project aligns with local priorities for rural land management and supports the Defra 25 Year Environment Plan for Clean and Plentiful Water.

Page last reviewed: 6 November 2023


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