WITH reference to the silt removal at Earith. No one need jump for joy over this for it is the equivalent to taking a teaspoon of water out of a bucket. The Hundred Foot requires a dragline either side to carry out a proper dredging operation. A dragline under normal conditions can remove 1,000 cubic meters in a day.
I note the decision to de-silt the riverbed lightly. The whole length of the Hundred Foot needs dredging and whilst concern is raised in case the clay lining in the channel is disturbed, by using the modern Dutch dredging equipment the silt is actually sucked from the bottom of the boat and conveyed by pipe over the bank which, when it has dried is bulldozed against the bank.
Over 300 years ago, the river was dug by hand and St Ives was the biggest market in Europe within one year, 1,800 barges unloaded and returned with goods from the upper reaches. Today it would hardly be possible to get even one barge up the I Hundred Foot due to the fact it is so badly silted.
It is time the Dutch were called in to overhaul the whole of our river system as they did in the Fens many years ago.
W B CARTER