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How hedgehog homes are helping fish stocks

The Environment Agency is revisiting a Cumbrian lake where hedgehog shaped refuges were installed last year to help protect fish stocks.

Bassenthwaite is the first English lake to use the spiky constructions which provide shelter and a safe haven from predators.

A remote control boat will help monitor how well they are working.

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Cumbria on flood alert

The Environment Agency has issued a flood alert for the Rivers Caldew and Petteril.

Heavy and persistent rain is expected to spread in from the west, lasting until Sunday. The rain and widespread snowmelt means there is a possibility of flooding.

All of Cumbria will be affected, mainly on higher grounds. Flooding is possible for the rivers from the Lakeland fells to where they meet the Eden in Carlisle, including Greystoke, Newton Reigny, Plumpton, Stockdalewath, Sebergham and Denton Holme in Carlisle.

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Environment Agency to prosecute Sellafield

The company that runs the Sellafield nuclear site, Sellafield Limited, is to be prosecuted over a 'waste disposal incident.'

It's after allegations the company sent and disposed of four bags of low level radioactive waste from it's west Cumbrian site in 2010.

The company faces nine charges; eight charges have been brought by the Environment Agency and one charge brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

The Environment Agency charges are brought under the Radioactive Substances Act and Environmental Permitting Regulation.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation charge is brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.

Flash flood hotspots

The Environment Agency are warning that thousands of people in the North West are at risk from flash flooding, and is urging communities to prepare in advance.

Flash flooding is caused by intense rainfall. It occurs suddenly with little or no warning – often before the emergency services have time to arrive. It tends to happen when heavy rainfall runs off land and quickly swells rivers and streams, or where drainage systems are overwhelmed by rainfall.

To try and help people understand the risks, the Environment Agency has undertaken detailed studies to identify the communities most at risk from this type of flooding.

They will contact local householders and business owners to explain the risks, and how to prepare themselves to stay safe.

River project awarded

A conservation project to improve the quality of the River Petteril in Carlisle has won a national award.

The River Petteril was once renowned for its trout fishing, but recently was identified by the Environment Agency as being "poor" in terms of water quality and its fish populations.

Pollution was identified as a major problem, arising from various sources such as farms, roads, inadequate sewage systems and domestic septic tanks.

Working with farmers much of the focus was on reducing how much animal waste was washed in to watercourses and improving drainage and guttering.

More than 5km of river bank has been fenced to prevent farm animals from reaching the river. More than 2,000 trees have been planted along the river to stabilise the banks and allow more wildlife to feed and breed in the river.

Barriers that stopped fish migrating upstream have been improved.

"We are delighted to have received this award, which recognises the achievements and benefits of this collaborative way of working. None of this would have been possible without the fantastic support and commitment of the local farming community.

"The project will benefit all those concerned with the river and its surroundings, and make it a better place for people and wildlife."

– Simon Johnson, Director of Eden Rivers Trust
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