Campaign effort to clear our city's flood-hit waterways

Flood hit waterways along the River Aire are to be cleaned up this weekend by a team of local groups - and volunteers are needed to boost the campaign effort.

Flooded River Aire and Kirkstall Abbey at Bridge Road.

Paths alongside the picturesque riverbank were left covered in litter and debris by rising river levels in the wake of the Boxing Day floods.

Now, local organisations and volunteers are organising a huge campaign effort to help clean up the city’s waterways.

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“Everyone’s heard about the big engineering jobs taking place across Yorkshire to help the county recover from the impact of the floods,” said Jon Horsfall, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust.

Aerial picture over the Kirkstall Road area of Leeds.

“But there’s also a big operation needed to clear all the 
rubbish dumped in hard to reach places – which gives a 
really poor impression of the city.

“The scale of the problem is massive and what’s great about this project is that local organisations, big and small, are pulling together to get things sorted. It shows great determination and a real sense of pride in our city.

“We do, however, need some support from local people and I’d encourage anyone interested in helping out to come down on Saturday and get stuck in.”

More than 1,000 properties in the city were hit by the floods on Boxing Day this year.

Aerial picture over the Kirkstall Road area of Leeds.

Many have struggled in recent months to repair damaged homes, re-open water-damaged businesses and water-proof their properties for any future floods.

And as efforts continue, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has promised that “Leeds has not been forgotten”.

“The scenes were unprecedented,” said Greg Clark.

“I was on Kirkstall Road - I saw the devastation. But with flooding of that severity, it can take quite a long time for work to be completed.”

The Government, working together with councils, had pulled out all the stops he said.

“Everyone recognises the necessary commitment,” he added.

“I am driving progress personally to make sure that things don’t fall between the cracks.

“It can’t be done overnight.”

The clean up effort alongside the riverbank in Leeds has been split into three zones, with the first event last Saturday in Kirkstall.

This week’s event, on Saturday June 4, will see volunteers clear the area from Royal Armouries to Knostrop Quay with the help of members from both the Leeds and White Rose Canoe Clubs. Members of social enterprise Canal Connections will work on clearing litter from hard to reach places from a boat on the river.

The effort, managed by Groundwork in partnership with Canal and River Trust, forms part of the river stewardship partnership.