top of page


"The Necessity of Dredging: Keeping UK Rivers and Canals Flowing"


Dredging rivers and canals is an essential process, which plays a crucial role in the functioning of the UK’s waterways.

Dredging involves removing sediment and debris from the bottom of rivers and canals to maintain their depth and ensure smooth navigation for boats and barges. While it may not be as visible as other forms of water management, it is a vital aspect of maintaining a healthy and functioning waterway network in the UK.

One of the main reasons why dredging is important is to prevent flooding. In recent years, the UK has experienced some of the worst floods in it’s history, causing widespread damage and disruption. These floods are often exacerbated by the build-up of sediment in rivers and canals, which reduces their capacity to hold water and increases the risk of overflow. Dredging removes this excess sediment, allowing the water to flow freely and reducing the likelihood of flooding.

In addition to preventing flooding, dredging also plays a crucial role in maintaining the water quality of rivers and canals. As sediment builds up, it can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, affecting the health of humans and wildlife. Dredging removes this sediment and helps to improve the water quality, creating a healthier environment for all.

Another important aspect of dredging is its impact on the economy. The UK’s waterways are a vital transportation route for goods and materials, and many businesses rely on them for their day-to-day operations. If these waterways become too shallow or narrow due to sediment build-up, it can significantly impact the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transportation. Dredging allows for smooth navigation, reducing the risk of delays and disruptions, and ensuring the continued economic success of the UK’s waterways.

Dredging also has environmental benefits. By removing sediment and debris from the bottom of rivers and canals, it allows for better water flow and oxygenation, creating a healthier ecosystem for aquatic plants and animals. This, in turn, improves biodiversity and supports the growth of fish and other species, making the waterways more attractive for recreational activities such as fishing and boating.

In recent years, the UK has seen a decline in dredging due to budget cuts and a focus on other forms of water management. However, neglecting dredging can have severe consequences. In 2014, the Somerset Levels experienced severe flooding due to a lack of dredging, causing widespread damage and displacing many residents. This event highlighted the importance of maintaining regular dredging to prevent such disasters from happening.

In conclusion, dredging rivers and canals in the UK is not just a mundane task but a crucial aspect of water management. It helps to prevent flooding, maintain water quality, support the economy, and promote a healthy environment. Neglecting dredging can have severe consequences, making it essential for the UK to invest in this process to ensure the continued functioning and success of its waterways. So, the next time you see a dredger at work, remember the vital role it plays in keeping our rivers and canals healthy and functioning.


As UK-based dredging and desilting contractors, P&D Environmental offers a wide range of dredging and desilting services for the removal of sediment from a variety of watercourses, including canals, rivers, lakes, ditches, moats, and marinas using a range of innovative methods to meet your project requirements. We offer a full project management service.

To find out more, contact us today! - Contact Us

Or find out more about our complete dredging services here - Dredging & Desilting


bottom of page