Stratford dredging work to clear silt and flood debris

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Media captionWork is being carried out around the Clopton and Tramway bridges across the River Avon

Dredging work has begun in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon to clear silt that has built up after recent flooding.

The work is being carried around the Clopton and Tramway bridges across the River Avon.

The cost is being met by Stratford-on-Avon District Council and two local businesses, a marina and a hotel.

Contractors, BD Westby, said they expect to fill nine barges a day for three to four weeks.

Barry Westby, from the Worcestershire-based firm, said: "If you can imagine that at the moment the top third of the river is water and the bottom two thirds is silt - if we dig that two thirds out the whole of it is flowing, so it's carrying a lot more water."

John Dews, owner of Stratford Marina, said the silt and other debris had built up into islands below the bridge which are up to 3ft (90cm) above the summer river level.

"At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 we had an extended period where the river was high and that's where the damage was caused, when the silt comes down and builds up," he added.

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