The BBC has reported that a water company plans to create 26 new wetlands across the East of England to help improve river water quality. Anglian Water, which admitted dumping sewage in the River Stour 389 times last year, said the scheme would help protect rivers and chalk stream habitats.
The project follows a pilot set up in 2019 in Ingoldisthorpe and managed by the Norfolk Rivers Trust.
But one campaigner said the scheme was “green washing” the public. Anglian water said £50m would be spent on the wetlands by the end of the decade. The first three wetlands in Charsfield and Cotton in Suffolk and Stagsden in Bedfordshire would get under way in 2023. Final stages of feasibility work to identify the most suitable locations for the remaining 23 wetlands were still being carried out, the water company said.
Treatment wetlands work by taking used, but treated, water from water recycling centres and passing it through a series of interconnected ponds planted with native wetland species such as iris, sedges, rush, marsh marigold and watercress. The wetland plants “naturally clean the water, removing ammonia and phosphate before it goes back into the nearby river”, Anglian Water said.