IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch

20 November 2021

The River Idle joins the Trent at West Stockwith. Despite having a statutory right of navigation there is no navigation authority for the river. The river is accessible only by paying a fee to the Environment Agency to open up a pair of sluices.

IWA has written to the Environment Agency to raise IWA’s concerns. We are calling for action to restore the river to its former capacity as a navigation and drainage channel. This would be through a programme of maintenance and channel reprofiling.

In its current state, the River Idle is virtually un-navigable. Through a lack of management and maintenance over many years, the river is now heavily silted and overgrown with trees and shrubs. Owing to this, cruises previously undertaken by the Retford & Worksop Boat Club have ended. However, we have members keen to recommence navigation, beginning with small boats to assess the river for the safety of larger boats.

The Association of Drainage Authorities have highlighted the problem faced by their Internal Drainage Board members. Namely, that heavy silting and vegetation growth have caused a severe reduction in the river’s capacity to convey water. With more flooding and drought likely in the future because of climate change, it is crucial to maintain waterways such as this to improve their capacity for water transfer.

Dredging this waterway will have wider benefits for the local population and economy, recreation, wildlife and fishing.