RESIDENTS have taken it upon themselves to clear rubbish from a river. We reported in April about rubbish which had been dumped in the River Blithe, near to the A50 road bridge in Blythe Bridge. Concerns were raised to Forsbrook Parish Council about the issue and we contacted the Environment Agency who told us that, even though they were “appalled” by the rubbish which had been dumped in the river, they could not take any action to remove the rubbish themselves.
At the time, Nick Burgess from the Environment Agency, told us that he could not divulge who the landowner of that area of river is, but confirmed that he and the agency were talking to the landowner about their responsibility to remove the rubbish.
He said at the time: “Unfortunately responsibility for clearing this rubbish falls to the landowner, so we are talking to them about their riparian responsibilities to remove the waste and maintain that stretch of the river.”
However, a couple, who live in the parish, have now taken it upon themselves to clear the rubbish.
Terry Knight, and her husband Chris Knight, spent two weekends clearing the rubbish from the waterway.
Terry, who was co-opted on to Forsbrook Parish Council in May, explained: “We moved to the area in 2006 and specifically chose the house we live in as we had dogs and needed somewhere to walk.
“We loved the footpath and river access close by which has trout in the river and kingfisher along the riverbank.
“We lost the last of our dogs four years ago and didn’t have the heart to go back there.”
Terry further explained that she had spotted concerns about the rubbish in the river on social media, which triggered her and her husband to go and take a look at the issue themselves.
She said: “We both decided to take a look with our new dog Otto.
“We found it upsetting to see the river in such a bad way and the amount of glass in the underpass and footpath was shocking.”
The couple then contacted local organisations about the issue to see what could be done.
Terry said: “One of the responses I received was, it would require heavy machinery and there maybe monetary constraints associated.
“We were not content with this response and decided to take some direct action ourselves.
“And so, with kind permission from the landowner, we gained access to the blocked parts of the river and over two weekends we cleared the river of most of the debris allowing the water to flow unhindered.”
Terry and Chris cleared eight black sacks of broken glass and plastic away from the underpass which now allows dogs to be walked without risk.
Terry added: “There is still a lot of work to be done in the river, as well as removing the debris off site and we have received offers to help from the local community.
“The great thing for us is we have now started to use the footpath and river again ourselves with our new dog Otto.”
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