IT is feared that a river in south Shropshire noted for its water quality and freshwater pearl mussels could be at risk of losing is special conservation status.

A new bridge could be built over the river to try to reduce pollution.

The River Clun and its rich habitat could be in danger of losing its Special Area of Conservation status unless changes are made.

It is also not keeping up its expected levels of freshwater pearl mussels.

Now the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership will investigate building a bridge over the river to replace a ford, where sediment could be seeping into the water.

A two-year funding agreement to the end of March 2021 has been made with the Environment Agency to fund Alison Jones as the Clun catchment officer, along with a capital works budget.

“The River Clun catchment consists of seven tributary streams and the presence of freshwater pearl mussels found in the lowest five kilometres of the river has led to it being designated a Special Area of Conservation,” said Ms Jones.

“This bottom section of the river is also part of the River Teme Site of Special Scientific Interest.

“The project will contribute to addressing the main impacts that are causing this failure, namely excess sedimentation and nutrient inputs.”

“By concentrating on a suite of riverside measures and interception of sediment pathways which will reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the designated rivers, it can be demonstrated that necessary measures are being taken to protect the freshwater pearl mussel.

“Whilst this project concentrates on excess sedimentation and nutrient inputs there is also work taking place to improve the overall habitat along the river and at two sites to achieve sufficient improvements that freshwater pearl mussels might be translocated to them in the future.”