Investigations under way after reports of dead fish in chalk river

The Red Bridge which crosses the River Tud at Costessey. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Red Bridge which crosses the River Tud at Costessey. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Fears have been raised for the future of a river after reports of dead fish being found.

Norfolk county councillor Tim East. Picture: BILL SMITH

Norfolk county councillor Tim East. Picture: BILL SMITH - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Costessey Town Council has started investigations and county councillor Tim East alerted the Environment Agency (EA) after residents raised concerns over dead fish in the River Tud at Red Bridge on Saturday.

There were claims from a worried resident on the Costessey Information Board Facebook page that water below the historic bridge, on Gunton Lane, New Costessey, 'had a reddish tinge and a chemical smell'. She also reported that some fish had died and warned children and dogs to keep out of the shallow water.

Mr East reported the incident to the Environment Agency (EA) on Sunday.

Hilary Elias, clerk for Costessey Town Council, said she had alerted the council's volunteer warden to inspect the area as well as inform the EA.

'We are keeping an eye on it,' she added.

Mr East, who represents New Costessey and Old Costessey, said the community raised the issue of pollution in the chalk river. He said: 'Lots of people use the river at Red Bridge as a recreation area, particularly on hot summer days. It is a very attractive area. We don't want the River Tud to be polluted. Serious pollution would cause irreparable damage to our wildlife.'

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He described the River Tud valley as a 'sensitive area' and was worried about the impact of house building on the river valley.

An EA spokesman said: 'This weekend we have responded to an unprecedented number of reports relating to fish in distress across East Anglia.

'Our teams have been responding to reports by deploying aeration equipment and using hydrogen peroxide in affected stretches of river to boost oxygen levels.

'At this time of year we regularly respond to reports of fish in distress due to natural processes reducing oxygen levels in the water. When we experience a heavy storm after a long dry period, debris that has accumulated in the drainage systems is flushed into the rivers. The algae and micro-organisms in the rivers rapidly multiply which causes a drop in oxygen levels.'

Anyone who sees dead fish should call 0800 807060.