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River Ribble clean-up to celebrate Earth Day

River Ribble near Long Preston (1)

5:02am 22nd April 2018

It's part of Earth Day - the world's largest environmental movement which holds events every year.  

This year, a number of Settle-based voluntary groups are picking litter from a section of the river.

The river course slows down as it passes through Settle, and litter is deposited on its banks between Settle and Long Preston. 

Known locally as ‘The Deeps’, the Long Preston Floodplain area is managed by local farmers and landowners for livestock and wildlife. 

In 2004 a consortium of charities and conservation groups, led by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), formed the Long Preston Floodplain Project – part of their purpose is to re-create and enhance the rare wet grassland habitat found on The Deeps, together with restoring the river Ribble and reducing flood risk downstream.

The area attracts a lot of interest from local and national conservation bodies including Natural England and the Environment Agency because it is an important haven for wildlife.

Adrian Shepherd, Long Preston Floodplain Project Officer at YDMT, said:

“The Ribble is a fast flowing river in its upper reaches and carries all sorts of rubbish downstream until it reaches The Deeps, at which point the flow slows and the River begins to meander. When this happens rubbish is deposited along the river bank, and it is particularly bad just south of Settle, where the Ribble passes under the A65.

"Unfortunately litter has built up over a number of years, which is not just unsightly, but also poses a real hazard to wildlife and to farm animals that graze nearby. The Floodplain is important to many different groups, including farmers, landowners, local businesses, conservationists, bird watchers, anglers and walkers. I am pleased that this event will bring the local community together to help restore a unique Yorkshire habitat.”

 

Jack Spees, Chief Executive of the Ribble Rivers Trust, one of the Project’s key sponsors, has worked with Adrian and other local groups to organise the clean up.  Jack said:

“Rivers are the conduit along which not just water flows but, sadly, much of our pollution too, including litter and plastic.  Clean-ups are a great way to improve our rivers and make them a more enjoyable place to visit, but also to protect our seas which are becoming increasing clogged with plastic.  

"This event allows the local community to take an active part in improving their environment and we are pleased to be a part of it.”

Anyone wanting to join the litter pick should meet under Runley Bridge (where the A65 passes over the River Ribble) at 13:30.  Gloves, rubbish bags and pick sticks are provided by Craven District Council.  Dress in suitable clothing, wear wellington boots and bring your own drink and snack.

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