Berkshire

Asbestos found next to dredged River Lambourn

Dug up river bed Image copyright ARK River Trust
Image caption The Environment Agency is investigating why the protected site was dug up

Asbestos has been discovered next to a river where suspected illegal dredging is being investigated.

The damage caused in November at the River Lambourn in East Garston, Berkshire, had been described as "brutal" by a conservation charity.

The Environment Agency (EA) began an investigation and confirmed earlier that white asbestos was found.

It said tests concluded surrounding soil had not been contaminated and the toxic substance was now being removed.

'Destroyed'

An EA spokesman said the find at the protected chalk stream was "a timely reminder how people should only dispose of asbestos within the law".

The spokesman added that the investigation into the dredging was ongoing.

The Lambourn, an internationally important habitat for fish and plants because of its chalk, flows into the Kennet, which leads to the River Thames at Reading.

It is defined as a winterboune, which means it is dry in summer and floods in winter.

Charity Action for the River Kennet previously called the dredging "brutal" and claimed it had caused "a year's worth of fish and plants to be destroyed".

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