AN extra 9,000 newly-planted trees will help to improve the quality of a number of East Lancashire’s waterways this summer.

A volunteer effort on behalf of the Ribble Rivers Trust has seen riverbanks across Ribble Valley transformed since last winter.

Four sites in the Ribble Catchment area, near Bashall, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Ramsgreave and Billington, are set to benefit.

Not only do the trees prevent bank erosion and help to diffuse pollution from surrounding farmland but they can also slow the pace of flood waters

A Ribble Rivers Trust spokesman said: “Most people associate trees with clean air and wildlife habitats but trees are also vital for improving water quality in our rivers and streams.

“Trees not only provide vital nutrients and shade for invertebrates and spawning fish but they have been known to almost completely prevent pesticides and phosphates from reaching watercourses.”

The work has been carried out by the trust as part of Natural Course, under the European Life Integrated Project, all designed to improve water quality across the continent.

Ben Walker, a teacher at Edisford Primary School in Clitheroe, which was involved in the planting, said: “Our year four pupils loved tree planting – they were thrilled that the trees they were planting would be around for decades and have such a positive impact on the environment.

“For many of them it was a totally new experience and they learnt so much about trees and river habitats.”

The Environment Agency and United Utilities have also supported the work.