Much of the work of the RIVER DEBEN ASSOCIATION involves identifying and raising public awareness of issues that affect the river, facilitating public debate and, where there is consensus, acting as the voice of interested parties.
Issues that have been addressed include the following, some of which are still current:
- POLLUTION – sewage, litter (ashore and afloat), commercial discharge, wrecks
- PLANNING/DEVELOPMENT – marina plans, buildings, housing settlements
- OWNERSHIP/CONTROL – mooring rights, houseboat licensing
- FREEDOM OF ACCESS – riverside access, footpaths, public landings, parking
- RIVER USE – speeding, safety, byelaw enforcement, crime, number of boats
- ENVIRONMENTAL – loss of saltmarsh, siltation, designation of SSSIs, degradation of river walls, effects of flood defence works
Where issues are tackled by other bodies such as the Deben Estuary Partnership, the RDA is closely involved, ensuring that the voice of river users is heard and their interests represented.
Either in partnership with others or on its own, the RDA has undertaken a number of projects over the years in fulfilment of its purpose of protecting and enhancing the river, ashore and afloat. Ongoing projects include work on conserving the saltmarsh, and consideration of planning applications.
Past projects have included:
- Submission of evidence from regular users of the footpath beside the river at Wilford Bridge, following its illegal obstruction. This was re-opened following the intervention of a Government Inspector; and
- Financial support for a successful campaign to have the designation of the footpath between the Ramsholt Arms and Ramsholt Quay confirmed as a Public Right of Way.
- A survey of the river walls along the length of the tidal Deben undertaken in 2008 by our president, Robert Simper, assisted by other. This survey identified several locations in which the walls had deteriorated to the extent that the land behind was thought liable to flooding in the event of an abnormal high tide. The survey was used by the River Deben Partnership in working with the Environment Agency and local landowners to establish a protocol for river wall maintenance.