Residents in and around Bury St Edmunds are being invited to have their say on the issues facing the River Lark. 

A new initiative – the River Lark Catchment Partnership – will be officially launched at a meeting on Thursday May 28. The partnership will include representatives of Anglian Water, the Bury Water Meadows Group and others interested in keeping the river and its banks healthy, clean and full of wildlife.

The initiative is part of the wider Cam and Ely Ouse Catchment Partnership (CamEO) which is bringing together groups across the area to help protect and enhance watercourses for people and wildlife.

The River Lark has long and fascinating history as a navigation route from Roman times when boats carried building material quarried from Isleham to Bury where they were used for constructions including the original Bury St Edmunds Abbey. It became a busy route for the distribution of coal from northern collieries into the 19th Century. After its industrial use declined it became popular with boaters and anglers, and as its name reflects, it supports a range of wildlife including kingfishers, wildfowl, brown trout and otters.

Martin Bowes, Anglian Water catchment officer, said: “The River Lark is an iconic part of the local landscape and is close to the hearts of the people of Bury St Edmunds.

“Creating a partnership of people who care about this waterway and the wildlife it supports is an important step in protecting its future. Here at Anglian Water we know that our customers want us to protect our region’s environment and this is a great way to help do that.

“We want to involve the community in this work, and we would love to hear from people living in and around Bury about why they love their river and the concerns they have, be it litter, wildlife, access or anything else that needs to be looked at.”

“We have had a positive reaction from a number of local groups with an interest in the river and we very much welcome input from any organisation or individual who we have not yet contacted”

Anyone who wants to submit their views to the partnership can get in touch by emailing Andrew Hinchley at ahinchley@yahoo.co.uk. Also any local groups who would like to be part of the partnership can get in contact to express an interest.