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Thread: Barcombe Mills

  1. #1

    Default Barcombe Mills

    Hi all

    A news item relating to paddling on the Sussex Ouse at Barcombe Mills. We have been defending paddling at this site to the Environment Agency, who had installed restrictions on bank access for paddlers after a legal challenge by some anglers. Our Local Waterway Adviser (Clive Edwards) and Regional Waterways Adviser (Noel Humphrey) have both been instrumental in working with the EA, who have now lifted the restrictions. Thanks also to the EA officers concerned, who have listened to the arguments put forward by British Canoeing and our volunteers, and worked to clarify the legal issues involved.

    https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/n...s-sussex-ouse/

  2. #2
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    Thanks Chris, useful to know. Thanks due to those involved.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  3. #3

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    Thanks Chris - and I like this bit in the article on the British canoeing website:
    British Canoeing would in addition state that we consider the river to hold a PRN in accordance with the general PRN on all rivers in England.

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    Good to hear. Well done BC (U)

    Impcanoe

  5. #5

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    good to read something positive regarding access

    Mark

  6. #6

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    Currently kayaking and fishing is banned above Barcombe Mills as Southern Water have introduced a substantial amount of dangerous blue green algae into the river. That notwithstanding 38 sewage treatment works drain into the Sussex Ouse catchment. At times of low flow (most of the Summer) the Environment Agency flow measurements show that 60% of the water flowing through Barcombe Mills is directly emitted from the sewage works. The sewage is not UV filtered to remove bacteria etc and the so river water regularly makes people sick. It is really not a pleasant river.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    Currently kayaking and fishing is banned above Barcombe Mills as Southern Water have introduced a substantial amount of dangerous blue green algae into the river. That notwithstanding 38 sewage treatment works drain into the Sussex Ouse catchment. At times of low flow (most of the Summer) the Environment Agency flow measurements show that 60% of the water flowing through Barcombe Mills is directly emitted from the sewage works. The sewage is not UV filtered to remove bacteria etc and the so river water regularly makes people sick. It is really not a pleasant river.
    It's unusual that the Environment Agency didn't mention any of this to us in the conversations we've had with them over the past few months regarding the site, the river, and the navigation rights. Neither have any paddlers ever reported the river poses any health risk (we usually do ear about concerns about rivers across the country), and our two key volunteers with decades of experience at the site have never reported the river being anything other than a lovely paddle.

    The stats for the % of the river coming from sewage works in low flows wouldn't surprise me particularly - many rivers across the country also hold this pattern - even the Trent through Nottingham is known to be largely filtered past/through works in low flows. It is actually when that river is high it poses a health risk. The treated water is usually of a good quality. The risk comes from things like Combined Sewage Outfalls (CSOs) which can often discharge raw sewage in times of high rainfall, rather than at low flows.

    None of the issues you mentioned would have any impact at all on the very well documented Right of Navigation on the Ouse through Barcombe Mills. Paddling is not banned on the river. I believe angling is also still very much conducted both below and above Barcombe Mills (if it wasn't we may not have had the issues we had earlier this year!). Across the country agencies such as the EA work with us to get safety and health messages out to paddlers in the form of advice and information - but not restriction (whether formal or informal) on a Public Right of Navigation.

    If you'd like to send more details of the particular concerns to my email (details below) I'll get in touch with our local volunteers to see if any other concerns have been raised.

    Best wishes, Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    Currently kayaking and fishing is banned above Barcombe Mills as Southern Water have introduced a substantial amount of dangerous blue green algae into the river. That notwithstanding 38 sewage treatment works drain into the Sussex Ouse catchment. At times of low flow (most of the Summer) the Environment Agency flow measurements show that 60% of the water flowing through Barcombe Mills is directly emitted from the sewage works. The sewage is not UV filtered to remove bacteria etc and the so river water regularly makes people sick. It is really not a pleasant river.
    This to me reads like a deliberate attempt to put people off using the water, For a start it is impossible to deliberately introduce Blue green algae into a water course. it is there permanently at a very low level and blooms occurs as a direct consequence of high nutrient levels coupled with high water temperatures, As for the sewage levels it's a good thing Southern Water discharges treated sewage into the river as it would basically stop running in the summer with out it.

  9. #9

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    It is if you manage a reservoir that drains into the Ouse that regularly becomes contaminated with blue green algae and deliberately overfill it to drain the algae off into the Ouse.

    http://www.theargus.co.uk/NEWS/15564...isonous_algae/

    The river would still flow if the 38 sewage treatment works did not discharge into the river. Where do you think they get the water from in the first place? The point is though that although the effluent is filtered it is not UV treated and so the bacteria is still very much alive.

    To the previous poster, I'm afraid the Environment Agency rarely know their arse from their elbow. It is a largely ineffectual and inefficient organisation that does not understand the phrase 'joined up thinking'. A small example. Plumpton College have polluted a sensitive stream tributary of the Sussex Ouse nine times in five years (by tipping slurry into the river when their tanks overflow at Wales Farm - for the uninitiated slurry is a mixture of cows urine and cows faeces). The last but one incident resulted in the extermination of almost all aquatic life in a 10km stretch of the stream. It cost the tax payer a substantial amount to finance the clean up operation but still the EA have not taken Plumpton College to court to seek redress (and get some of our money back).

    Seeing as you have the ear of two EA staff ask them to supply you with the flow output figures from the 38 sewage treatment works the drain into the Ouse catchment and also the flow figures through Barcombe Mills for the months of June and July. They have to supply them to you if asked. I can guarantee that you'll find that the sewage treatment works account for an average of 60% of the flow through the Mills. I can also guarantee that your two contacts do not know this (and here we are back to 'joined-up'). This is one of the two main reasons that swimmers so often get sick after swimming in the Ouse (the other is ecoli 051 from cow faeces which persists in water). FYI. In the last three weeks a number of people from a birthday party held at Isfield's Boathouse Farm by an extended Brighton family recently became very sick from swimming in the Ouse.

    BTW. You are correct about the release of raw sewage into the catchment by South East Water when the river is in spate. I have been on the river when they've done this. It instantly turns into a very smelly sewer, with toilet paper and turds floating right past you. Privatising the water companies has been a failure and our rivers and wildlife has suffered as a result whilst profits have been siphoned off through tax-evading holding companies. Hopefully the writing is now on the wall for the private companies that profit from utilities crucial to the well-being of our population.....

    E.g: Tax-evading Jersey-based Greensands Investments Limited owns Southern Water. It *only* owns Southern Water. Last year on revenue of 809.7 million it made a profit of 250.1 million.
    https://www.southernwater.co.uk/medi...gs-account.pdf

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/09/...ter-companies/

    Hopefully, like Surfers Against Sewage, kayakers and the British Canoeing Union will activate for cleaner water.

    BTW. I have lived on the Sussex Ouse for much of my adult life.
    Last edited by NightPaddler; 30th-September-2017 at 03:49 AM.

  10. Default

    Nightpaddler You claim to be a paddler but are not up todate with current policy. Canoeing along with rowing and fishing is considered a water contact sport, whereas swimming is a water immersion sport. The idea ofcanoeing is to be on the water and not in it. It is recommended that paddlers wash their hands before handling food, I am sure anglers do the same after handling fish and other equipment that has had contact with the river.

    As a Regional waterways advisor I am well aware of the impact of STW's on water quality. Every river is impacted by the STW's who discharge their treated sewage, I am sure you remember David Walliams who swam the Thames and was ill, so it is not just the Ouse that is affected. In the summer months the majorityof the water in our rivers comes from STW's. It is one of the main reasons that a river fails to meet the water quality targets of the Water Framework directive.

    You go on to say in your previous post "I can also guarantee that your two contacts do not know this (and here we are back to 'joined-up')." Well sorry to correct you but I do, just because I do not live in Barcombe does not mean that I am not aware of the facts, and for the record I have paddled on the Ouse many times. In addition I have been directly involved in access issues on the Ouse since 1996. The Local Waterways Advisor has also paddled much of the river many times and has good local knowledge.

    I also note that you have posted comments about STW's on the Ouse and the right to paddle under a different name on another forum. Indeed someone from Barcombe made similar negative comments very recently on a review site for a canoeing provider. If you are a paddler then come and work with paddlers to improve the river environment. If you are an angler then get your fishing club and other fishing organisations to work with the boating community and wild swimmers to improve the river environment. Anglers and other water users have much in common, sadly anglers want to work separately from everyone else hence the lack of joined-up thinking between the various user groups.


    Noel Humphrey
    Regional Waterways Advisor SE Region

  11. #11

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    I made no distinction between types of rivers users and usage.

    I was referring to the two Environment Agency employees. Are you an Environment Agency employee?

    I have worked to improve water quality of the Ouse catchment for decades. It is to be hoped that British Canoeing will take this role on board too. Maybe like anglers, paddlers who wish to use the waterways should purchase an Environment Agency license to fund improvement of our inland waters?

  12. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    I made no distinction between types of rivers users and usage.

    I was referring to the two Environment Agency employees. Are you an Environment Agency employee?

    I have worked to improve water quality of the Ouse catchment for decades. It is to be hoped that British Canoeing will take this role on board too. Maybe like anglers, paddlers who wish to use the waterways should purchase an Environment Agency license to fund improvement of our inland waters?
    The money anglers pay for their rod licences is used by the EA directly to fund projects that support fish and angling. This ranges from maintaining fish stocks, running fisheries like at Calverton to supporting fishing clubs, installing new pegs etc. The money the EA uses for general projects to improve water quality - especially those looking at issues such as removing CSOs, improving STWs, obligations under the Water Framework Directive etc are tax-payer funded. So all canoeists and anglers alike have already contributed to that through their tax money. It shouldn't be confused with monies from the rod Licence, which go directly into supporting fish stocks and angling support projects.

    British Canoeing works on many projects to support our river environments. These include: promoting and supporting Check, Clean Dry; working with Catchment Partnerships (Noel, our RWA who commented above, is very closely involved with catchment partnerships in the South East); promoting River Clean Ups; and working with EA and many others on issues relating to water quality. We are very happy to work with any interested groups on environmental projects - feel free to get in touch via the details below.

    It must be reiterated again - there is no ban on either angling or canoeing at or close to Barcombe Mills on the Sussex Ouse, quite the opposite.

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    Nightpaddler. Who are these two Environment Agency employees you are referring to? No other post except yours seems to mention them?

    Regarding license's, there is no navigation authority for the Ouse so no license is required. The EA are only responsible for the Thames and Medway in the South East and all boaters require a license to use these waterways. The income from boaters is used to maintain these waterways for boating just as the income from the rod license is used for the benefit of fishing.

    Noel Humphrey
    British Canoeing Regional Waterways Advisor SE Region

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Humphrey View Post
    Every river is impacted by the STW's who discharge their treated sewage, I am sure you remember David Walliams who swam the Thames and was ill, so it is not just the Ouse that is affected. In the summer months the majorityof the water in our rivers comes from STW's. It is one of the main reasons that a river fails to meet the water quality targets of the Water Framework directive.
    Sewage treatment works of course generally empty into rivers but their discharge is 'treated' and should not have adverse effects on the environment. It is only when they are not working correctly or when they overflow that there are problems. We need them for our quality of life, let's not simply denigrate them.

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    Whilst we do need STW's for our quality of life, many river catchments are failing water quality targets as set out in the water framework directive. The chemical analysis of the samples taken indicate high levels of chemicals associated with STW's. Much still needs to be done by the water companies if our rivers are to reach good status

  16. #16

    Default Blue Green algae at Barcombe Mills

    Noel. Look at post 7 by Chris for reference to EA officials. The EA are responsible for the Sussex Ouse. EA workers are there now.

    I've included links to two photos, one of the blue green algae at Barcombe Mills and one of an Environment Agency sign warning people not to go near the water. I've also included a link to an article about the dangers of blue green algae.

    Chris and/or Noel. Maybe you should think of revising your posts above encouraging your members and readers of this forum to paddle at Barcombe Mills at this time? By encouraging people to paddle on the Ouse above the Mills in this thread it is possible BC could be held responsible for any harm that might occur should river users accidentally ingest any of the water.

    http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/pl...obacteria.html

    You might even consider persuading your organisation to hold Southern Water to account for continually polluting the water at Barcombe Mills.












    Last edited by NightPaddler; 4th-October-2017 at 11:40 AM.

  17. #17

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    Not great for paddling in....

    You have no idea about the Sussex Ouse. It is one of the UK's lost rivers. It is treated by the authorities as if it had no value, such that Southern Water, South East Water and Plumpton College are allowed to pollute it on an almost monthly basis whilst the insipid Environment Agency take their salaries, build up their pensions and sit on their fat hands. And you lot, you are part of the problem. You think you can use the river but cause no harm. But this is not true. I have seen kayakers paddle their vessels over the breeding grounds of rare birds and fish with no recognition or conception of what they are doing. The lack of sensitivity to this compromised and already unbalanced environment is frightening. And each week more and more arrive and damage this small sensitive watercourse, as you encourage your members to illegally paddle in pressurised non-tidal waters like the Ouse above Barcombe Mills.

    When paddlers recognise and work to protect, enhance and preserve the environment you enjoy then you will deserve some consideration. At this moment you are both vandals and trespassers.

    Last edited by NightPaddler; 4th-October-2017 at 10:07 PM.

  18. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    ... as you encourage your members to illegally paddle in pressurised non-tidal waters like the Ouse above Barcombe Mills.

    When paddlers recognise and work to protect, enhance and preserve the environment you enjoy then you will deserve some consideration. At this moment you are both vandals and trespassers.
    I think this really shows the true nature of your claims about this river. They are false claims. The Environment Agency themselves have taken legal advice which demonstrates clearly that the Sussex Ouse through Barcombe Mills carries a Public Right of Navigation. Please do read the link at the start of this thread for more information. They as the landowners at the site are happy for the banks to be used for portage. So kayakers/canoeists are neither acting illegally or trespassing. This is just the facts of the matter.

    Canoeists, both through work with British Canoeing and through their own efforts. commit a lot of their time to environmental projects. These range from river clean-ups to projects to reduce the effects of Non-Native Invasive Species. Noel Humphrey organises many such events in the South East. Where particular sewage works are an issue - there's one in the South West - canoeists are active in working to get this recognised and the issue improved. Canoeists work closely with many Catchment Partnerships and wildlife partnerships specifically to help support local wildlife and river environments.

    You will find that if you have concerns for your local river the paddling community will join you and help campaign for change. If you try to engage paddlers, and include them in your efforts you will get a much greater buy-in than by simply (and fundamentally incorrectly) accusing them of being vandals or trespassers. Canoeists are neither.

    As said several times in the thread above - please do feel free to get in touch with us via the contact details below.

  19. #19

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    Despite the sign above you are currently still encouraging paddlers to enter the water at the Mills Chris?

    The EA might be allowing portage but they do not have the power to grant BC access to the water above the Mills. The land (i.e. banks) are owned by a variety of local landowners and the default law in England is that paddling is not allowed on non tidal rivers. The Ouse above Barcombe is non-tidal.

    Some years ago I was informed by a BCU southern official that the BCU had begun to look into clarifying the legalities on paddling above Barcombe Mills and had hired a legal expert to investigate. He told me that the experts advice was that the BCU would not win the case as right of navigation had only ever been granted to 'long boats for purpose of trade' and so the BCU dropped the matter. I find it hard to think he'd have any reason to lie to me so accepted it as truth.

    But the upshot is that until the BC gain clarification of the issue in the courts the default law of the land stands, and that is that there is no public right of navigation in English non-tidal waters.
    Last edited by NightPaddler; 5th-October-2017 at 02:29 PM.

  20. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    Some years ago I was informed by a BCU southern official that the BCU had begun to investigate clarifying the legalities on paddling above Barcombe Mills and had hired a legal expert to investigate. He told me that the experts advice was that the BCU would not win the case as right of navigation had only ever been granted to 'long boats for purpose of trade' and so the BCU dropped the matter. I find it hard to think he'd have any reason to lie to me so accepted it as truth.

    But the upshot is that until the BC gain clarification of the issue in the courts the default law of the land stands, and that is that there is no public right of navigation in English non-tidal waters.
    I can't say who you spoke to, or the context of it. However, I have contact with at least three key volunteers / ex-BC staff members who have known this site for the best part of three decades - and in that time British Canoeing has held the belief that the river holds a Right of Navigation.

    British Canoeing does not agree that Rivers are by default private, we believe there is an historic and un-rescinded Right of Navigation on all Rivers. You can read more about this on this site and many others. Clearly some people disagree with us. However... Even those who believe non-tidal rivers are, by default, private accept that a Right of Navigation can be gained in one of three ways: 1) Statute; 2) Historic User; 3) Landowner Grant. Also it is very well accepted that a Public Right of Navigation can only be changed by either statute or the river drying up.

    So, (in addition to the Historic Right on all rivers mentioned above) the River Ouse through Barcombe Mills also holds a public right of navigation through the following means:
    1) It is naturally tidal - the tidal PRN applies to all naturally tidal waters even if restricted
    2) Statute - there exists statute relating to navigation on the river, this is not restrictive in the way you mention, it has also not been rescinded or altered by further statute - so it remains law
    3) Historic use of the river

    All of this is confirmed by the Environment Agency's own legal advice. They have not granted BC or anyone else the ability to paddle the water - the advice from their legal team is that this river is legally navigable. To continue ignoring this advice without presenting any alternative claim or evidence is simply unsustainable. The ownership of the banks is an entirely different issue when so much evidence for a Right of Navigation exists on so many levels.

    This thread is now at the point of simply reiterating a case over and over. If you wish to discuss it further I would please request you contact us officially, giving your name and any organisations you may represent. We would be very happy to discuss how everyone can use the site fairly, equitably and without constraint. But the facts of the Right of Navigation are what they are.

    With respect to the contention that we are 'encouraging' people to paddle waters affected by Blue Green Algae (BGA). Our advice to paddlers on this issue varies case-by-case. On some still waters we have previously suggested or advised canoeists that the level of BGA is enough that they should consider not paddling. In some cases it is enough to give people details of the situation and recommend effective hygiene and washing. We will contact the EA to find out what the situation is at the site. As you have noted above, the river is regularly paddled - but we have never received any reports of health issues arising from it. I note that on the Ouse Angling Preservation Society's website the current advice is that the issue has cleared on all but a small section of the water in the area anyway.

    I think we have been very clear in the news story on our website, in our communications with the local angling club and on this forum that the Right of Navigation is confirmed, but also that we seek positive relationships with all stakeholders on the River Ouse. So please do make contact to discuss how the angling and canoeing can work in cooperation at the site. It would be great to build positive partnerships on this river - and all rivers!

    Best wishes, Chris

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    the default law in England is that paddling is not allowed on non tidal rivers.
    This is no longer seen as a correct interpretation of the law. There have been many studies into the subject and many documents researched which leads to the opposite interpretation. FYI the website River Access For All gives a good summary of evidence.

  22. #22
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    Nightpaddler. For the sake of honesty please reveal who you actually are and who you are seeming to represent

  23. #23

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    I represent myself. I live on the Ouse. My interests are wildlife and conservation.

  24. #24

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    Adrian. Then before you flout the law and trespass you need to ensure that is the case. BC needs to take it to court. Until then the law of the land applies and paddlers are breaking the law when they take their craft onto English non-tidal waters that do not explicitly in law, allow them to do so.

    So, go to court. You have no choice if you want to settle this once and for all. Please, and then we will know things have changed. At the moment there is no valid reason to think they have.

  25. Default

    Nightpaddler. If you are a member of OAPS have you seen the response from the EA legal department from the challenge that OAPS made regarding canoeing and wild swimming at Barcombe Mills? Both the chair and club secretary were sent it. If not then read my post http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...74-Sussex-Ouse which quotes directly from their response. The law is very clear. There is a right of navigation on the Ouse from Barcombe up to the Balcombe Viaduct. British Canoeing have this in writing from the Environment Agency. This right came about via an Act of Parliament in 1790. As this act has not been repealed it is still law. The EA have also confirmed this in writing.

    You can say what you like but the law is the law. Accept it and then you might just find paddlers being willing to get involved with improving the river environment instead of encountering those who will not respect the law.

    Noel Humphrey
    BC RWA South East Region

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    We have all heard the expression ‘ignorance of the law is no defence’; so if people are telling me the law is unclear, I need to make investigations to acquaint myself with it. I cannot take the matter to the courts unless someone wants to sue me,they won’t simply hear me and make a decision. So I research the subject as best I can, I look at historic documents, legislation, legal cases, common law; indeed Doug Caffyn did something similar in much more detail than I could do. I form a judgement, it’s the best I can do. Maybe you do something similar and arrive at a different conclusion,that’s fine as far as I can see, if the law is unclear, one might expect this. But, if I am sued, I argue my case, I explain the research and how I have acted upon it; I suspect, if thecourt decide that my interpretation is not the same as theirs, I will suffer no costs, how can they if this law is unclear.

    Oh, and by the way, if it unclear for me, it is unclear for everyone else, that’s what unclear means.

  27. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    Adrian. Then before you flout the law and trespass you need to ensure that is the case. BC needs to take it to court. Until then the law of the land applies...
    You, or anyone else, may well disagree with British Canoeing's opinion regarding Public Rights of navigation on non-Tidal Rivers in general. We hold the opinion that there is such a right. But we are also honest with our members and paddlers about the disagreements and that the law cannot be fully seen as clear and settled. A leading QC supports our opinion, as researched thoroughly by Dr Doug Caffyn and others.

    However...

    You are simply ignoring the issue here - even if the law is as some angling organisations and landowners claim, then there is still a Public Right of Navigation on the River Ouse above Barcome Mills. This is explained above and in the link on our site - and in the EA legal advice which I suspect you will have seen. There is, on the statute books (i.e It Is A Law!), a specific Public Right to Navigate granted in the 1790 Navigation Act for the river. This has not been rescinded. It is therefore still law.

    So any claim canoeists are not respecting the law of the land is demonstrably false - again, to claim otherwise is simply to ignore the facts. But please, work with the canoeing community so we can all support our river environments together.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightPaddler View Post
    I represent myself. I live on the Ouse. My interests are wildlife and conservation.
    With interests like yours you should consider joining the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust. Their website is here. This map shows the parts of the river and the structures built under the 1790 Upper Ouse Navigation Act.
    Keith

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