WORK to clean up the River Brun in Burnley, in the wake of a major pollution spill, has been celebrated as a 'remarkable transformation'.

Plans for the Urban River Enhancement Scheme, by the Ribble Rivers Conservation Trust, were revealed by the Lancashire Telegraph last year.

It his hoped salmon, trout and kingfishers will one day return to the Brun and River Calder because of the trust’s efforts across the borough and there have been signs of otters repopulating the waters.

But while the £81,600 scheme, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was in its infancy, more than 100 fish were killed in the waterway’s Thompson Park area after a unidentified pollution spillage entered the river.

Environmental campaigners from the trust have battled though, finishing construction of a fish pass at the top of St James Street and now turning their attention to a weir behind the old Burnley College near Church Street to clear the river bed and introduce favourable habitats.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle toured the main elements of the project, now dubbed Ribble Life, yesterday with trust officials.

He said: “The work done on these waterways is nothing short of remarkable.

“I’m told there were a couple of trout found after the pollution incident which proves they were making a comeback and the improvements will benefit all and hopefully see diverse wildlife in the heart of the town.”

Sara Hilton, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the north west, said: “The work of the Ribble Rivers Trust will help ensure that wildlife can flourish amongst the legacy of our industrial heritage, which continues to have a huge impact on our cities and landscape.”

Historically the Calder and Brun have suffered from the after-effects of industry, mine water discharges and poor habitats.

Semi-natural pools and habitat improvements will be created along the Brun’s channelway through large parts of the town centre.