October 3, 2022 3.08 pm This story is over 13 months old

Algae-ridden Lincolnshire rivers in ‘appalling state’

Thousands of fish have died in the River Witham

Rivers across Lincolnshire are in an ‘appalling state’ due to the yearly swamp of algae and weed, a council leader has said.

The hot summer has made the annual bloom of green water weed even worse than usual.

In Boston, thousands of fish in the River Witham have died, and parts of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool are also choked with a thick carpet of green weed.

This has become a regular blight on Lincolnshire’s rivers each summer.

The Environment Agency says that they are working to clean the waterways up, but the leader of Boston Borough Council says the spread is damaging businesses.

Dead fish have been found in the River Witham. | Screenshot: BBC Look North

“The River Witham and other waterways in Lincolnshire are in an appalling state due to algae and other invasive species clogging up our rivers and drains,” Councillor Paul Skinner told a Lincolnshire County Council meeting last week.

“This has caused the death of many thousands of fish and contributes to the image that no one cares for our important tourism and leisure assets.

“We could even harvest the biomass for use on the land and in biodigesters.

“In Boston, this has been the last two years and does impact on local business quite seriously.”

Councillor Colin Davie warned: “Climate change will clearly make this happen in a more regular basis in future, so we need to be prepared.

“I have seen firsthand how bad the waterways are. This event has been caused by the very hot summer, creating an algae bloom.

“Waterways are important for tourism, for economy, for connecting people together, so they should be at their best.”

The Environment Agency has been using boats to remove weed in Boston, and says the situation is improving.

A view of River Witham in Lincoln, which is partly covered with duckweed | Photo: LDRS/The Lincolnite

A spokesperson said: “We’ve had an unusually hot and dry summer and which has resulted in prolific weed growth on the surface of our rivers across Lincolnshire and has left water levels low.

“On the River Witham and other rivers across the county, the Environment Agency is working with the Canal and Rivers Trust and other partner organisations, to help remove weed to help boaters and other river users.

“We have installed a water remote quality sensor in the river to enable 24/7 water quality monitoring to help co-ordinate and target flushing to maximise beneficial impact on water quality with available water when conditions allow.

“The situation is improving but we continue to monitor it closely and are ready to respond. We’ll continue to work with our partners to see what other actions can be taken to improve the aesthetic quality of the river.

“In the meantime, if you see fish in distress please report it to 0800 807060.”