Environment bosses will take action within the next week to close a mill gate amid concerns for low river levels.

The Environment Agency says it will close the mill gates in Tinker’s Lane, Hadleigh, to raise the water level of the River Brett. 

The gates are currently open for flood risk management, after four flood events since Storm Babet in October.

The area between Bridge Street and Toppesfield Bridge is often at risk of flooding.

Concerns have been raised about the very low water level of the river, with many residents taking to local community groups to raise concerns.

One community group was able to pull out a skip load of debris from the river due to the low level.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We operate the mill gates in Tinker’s Lane, Hadleigh using our permissive powers for the purposes of flood risk management. They have been raised during the extremely wet winter months to help alleviate the very high river flows.

“We are now looking to lower them as we move into the drier summer period which will raise the river levels.  We need to assess any potential impacts raising the river levels may have before we close the gates, which we are currently in the process of doing. All being well we aim to close the gates within the next week.”

Hadleigh Environmental Action Team (HEAT) Steering Group, a local group tackling climate change and protecting the environment, were among those keeping an eye on the water level.

They said without an ecological survey it was "very hard" to say whether the river and its surroundings would be healthier with a high or low river. 

A spokesman for the group said: “For years the community has enjoyed the artificially high water level across this stretch of the town. Seeing the river levels lower than normal has come as a shock to some. If the Environment Agency decides that a low level is the best way to reduce flood risk, then it would take a year or two for nature to adapt and the muddy banks to disappear.

“HEAT does not have a definitive stance on the river level – because it is complicated and lots of factors have to be considered. We involve local people, listen to the experts, and take advice. Given the complexity of the management of the river, this remains our approach.”