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Groups unite to help ‘spring clean’ River Aire

Volunteers from West Leeds are being urged to give the River Aire a giant spring clean – and help prevent future flooding.

Groups including angling clubs, community groups and the environmental campaign groups between Leeds and Skipton are joining together with the support of the Aire Rivers Trust charity to deliver a series of clean ups between Thursday, 7 April and Sunday, 10 April. 

Simon Watts, community engagement manager for the Aire Rivers Trust, said:

“The River Aire is a fantastic example of a river that is getting better and better. It is leaving behind its history of use and abuse by industry. Along the length of the river we see good quality coarse and fly fishing, beautiful wildlife and fantastic walks.

“We’re even seeing Atlantic salmon returning to the river after they were lost 150 years ago. The River Aire is a green and blue space that’s close to many of our hearts and a source of joy for the people getting involved.

“We know that winter will have seen a lot of litter and debris washed into the River Aire from floods and its surroundings. Here, they can increase the risk of floods, whilst making local beauty spots unsightly for visitors. We want to work together to remove them before they get washed downstream or harm wildlife.”

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Groups planning events near the source of the River Aire include Bradford City Angling Association, Wild About Lothersdale and Cleaner Greener Cononley.

Around Keighley they’ll be joined by River Worth Friends, Keighley Angling Club and Riddlesden Toad Patrol. In Bingley, Friends of Myrtle Park plan to clean the banks of the River Aire as it flows through their park.

In Bradford, Greengates and Apperley Bridge Community Volunteers, Friends of Bradford’s Becks, young people from the Springfield Centre Will join the Aire Rivers Trust in running clean ups. Further downstream, Friends of the Aire will clean the riverbanks in south Leeds. Each group will make a huge difference to the local stretch and the whole river.

Friends of the Aire will be cleaning the River Aire from Crown Point to Thwaite Water Mill meeting at 10am on Saturday 9th April. 

Peter Tiffany said:

“If you enjoy walking along the river how about joining in the anti-litter campaign #OurCleanRiver? Several local groups have pledged to support the campaign. As part of this the Friends of the Aire – South Leeds are hoping we can litter pick along the footpath all the way from Crown Point Bridge down to Thwaite Water Mill. 

“If you are interested in joining us to make a difference to our local environment and giving something back then please send me a Facebook Direct Message so we can work together as effectively as possible. We plan to post updates about the event on the Facebook Groups – ‘Friends of the Aire – South Leeds’ and ‘Litter Free Leeds’.”

The event is a celebration of #OurCleanRiver as part of the Aire Rivers Trust and Environment Agency’s Developing the Natural Aire project.

Details of all events and how to join can be found on the Aire Rivers Trust’s website and on social media using the hashtag #OurCleanRiver.

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