Litter trap to clean river

A state of the art litter trap to collect debris floating along rivers was due to be officially unveiled by Jack Straw in Blackburn today, Friday June 8.

The £88,000 trap imported from America and installed on the River Darwen is the only one of its kind in England.

It is expected to remove the equivalent of 100 Transit vans worth of litter from the river every year – in May alone it trapped 43 illegally dumped car tyres.

Mr Straw, constituency MP and leader of the House of Commons, said: “I am really pleased that this innovative work is being carried out.

“Our rivers are a vitally important feature of the landscape and dealing with litter and fly-tipping is vital to both the habitat for wildlife and the public amenity.

“The location of this litter trap is also particularly helpful as the river flows through a country park in my Blackburn constituency, which is visited by thousands of local residents every year.

“I am sure that it will help to make the River Darwen an asset to the area.”

Litter and debris washed downstream from Blackburn and Darwen has blighted the lower reaches of the river causing an eyesore and creating hazards for wildlife.

Over the years armies of volunteers have tried to keep it clean but the litter has kept coming.

It prompted Sarah Whitman, co-ordinator for Action Darwen Valley, a partnership of organisations and people to conserve and enhance watersides in the area, to look for a long term solution.

She said: “When I started to talk to people about idea of a litter trap, I was inundated with letters of support.

“The overwhelming response we had helped us to secure funding for the project so we’d like to say a big thank you to all the project’s supporters.

“The main message we want to get across is that litter belongs in the bin not in the river.”

David Gibbs

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