A WAR of words has erupted over maintenance of the River Colne.

The town’s Conservative MP Will Quince has called for Colchester Council to release a long-term plan for the river, following problems with algae for the second summer in a row.

He has written to the authority’s waste, environment and transportation boss Martin Goss calling for answers.

In the letter Mr Quince thanks Colchester Canoe Club and the Environment Agency for the most recent clean up, but said responsibility for the river’s ongoing maintenance lies with the riparian owner - Colchester Council.

In a tweet to Mr Goss he said: “You have been quick to claim credit, how about now taking responsibility. Given your cited dealings with the Environment Agency Anglia, can you please tell me Colchester Council’s plan as riparian owner for the worst affected part of the River Colne?”

However, Mr Goss hit back at the MP, claiming he was using the issue as a “political tool” to attack the council.

“We are working closely with the Environment Agency. There has been work done already and there is more work planned.


  • Martin Goss

“The river runs through lots of different land where it is owned by different people. I am afraid it simply does not come down to just Colchester Council,” he said.

Mr Goss, who is also the Lib Dem’s Parliamentary candidate, added: “There are more serious issues he should be using his position as a Westminster MP to tackle, rather than acting like a glorified unelected councillor.”

Following a meeting of the council’s policy and public initiatives panel, a vision document for the river is set to be drawn up.

Council leader Mark Cory said Mr Quince would have been “very welcome” to attend the meeting. “The MP is playing politics as he has done before,” he said.

The Environment Agency said it is working in partnership with the council to improve the sustainability of the river.