A RIVERS charity has secured £1.6m from the National Lottery to improve its waters in East Lancashire for wildlife and people.

The Ribble Rivers Trust has been granted the money through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of a £3.2m project to clean up waters including the rivers Calder near Burnley, Hodder in the Forest of Bowland and Darwen.

It comes after the Environment Agency found that only 21 per cent of the Ribble Catchment’s rivers currently achieve a good ecological standard.

The remainder suffer from urban and industrial pollution, agricultural impacts, fragmented habitat and mistreatment by the general public - predominantly through littering.

But the programme entitled ‘Ribble Life Together’ would deliver projects until 2020 that raise awareness of the plight of rivers and enable people to get involved in restoring them for the benefit of wildlife and communities.

Jack Spees, chief executive of Ribble Rivers Trust, said: “Our Catchment Partnership has developed the project and it involves planting thirty new riparian woodlands and constructing 15 new wetlands at priority areas to help reduce pollution, increase biodiversity, provide natural flood risk management and reduce climate change impacts.

“Hopefully this will create a lasting legacy for the catchment and the communities that live and work here.”

In total, 14 new fish passes will also be installed on weirs that currently prevent the natural migration of fish, while scientific monitoring will determine how much the river environment improves through the interventions.

People have been invited to get involved in the project in a variety of ways, from attending volunteer events and conservation training workshops, to Geocaching competitions, guided rivers walks, augmented reality videos and oral history.

Visit at www.ribblelifetogether.org for more.