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New stream of funding to restore East Lancashire's rivers
RIVER campaigners have received £1.4million to help restore several pollution-hit waterways across East Lancashire and beyond, the Lancashire Telegraph can reveal.
Three major projects, marshalled by the Ribble Rivers Conservation Trust, will benefit from the Environment Agency cash injection.
And an array of native species, from otters to crayfish, kingfishers and merlins, should thrive thanks to improved habitats, through the Catchment Restoration Fund assistance.
The money will be used to build on clean-up efforts which have already made the area’s rivers the least polluted for decades.
Jack Spees, the trust’s director, said: “This funding represents exceptional opport-unities for the Ribble Catchment.
“The funding is predominately for physical works to improve the rivers and streams to the benefit of all their inhabitants, including people and wildlife, such as fish, otters and birds.”
Parts of the Ribble and Hodder Valleys are set to be targeted by one initiative, which aims to turn back the clock on years of industrial pollution in, and around, Skirden Beck, near Sawley, and Easington, a little further north, Stock Beck, in Barnoldswick, and the River Loud, at Chipping.
And Colne Water, similarly affected by a legacy of pollution, will benefit from another scheme, which will not only improve the river’s urban aspect, but also encourage landowners and farm- ers further downstream, and upstream, to upgrade the waterway’s habitats, enabling fish to migrate more easily.
Like a great deal of the trust’s recent work, the conservationists will be looking to involve local communities in their efforts and promote the tourism advantages of healthy rivers and streams.
The trust, which has installed two fish passes in the centre of Burnley, and is behind efforts to reintr-oduce fish life to the town, has funding for a third project, further afield.
Limestone Ribble seeks to address the management of moorlands, at the upper end of the river’s catchment area, which should also create more riverside woodlands.