The Environment Agency, The Skill Mill and Stockton Borough Council are teaming up this year to support the spring by organising a clean-up of Lustrum Beck in Stockton on Tees.
Following the success of previous clean-ups in other areas the teams are joining forces, this time in Stockton-On-Tees, to clear debris such as shopping trolleys, traffic cones, tyres and other fly-tipped items with the aim to reduce the risk of flooding and improve the appearance of the area.
The Skill Mill, based in Newcastle is a social enterprise which specialises in flood risk management through water course maintenance and other environmental improvements. The Skill Mill provides employment with training for you people ages 16-18 and works throughout the North East of England.
David Parks, Director of the Skill Mill said:
Encouraging organisations and people to collaborate on community projects are the most sustainable way of engaging the community in the importance of keeping areas cleans and waterways free of debris that can contribute to flooding.
Involving local young people in the clean up provides an example to the community and hopefully encourages people everyone to consider the very damaging impact of littering and fly tipping on the environment.
The Environment Agency has an annual maintenance programme to clear obstructions from rivers that might cause a flood risk. The councils will help to collect any debris and litter and take it away for safe disposal or to be recycled.
Andrew Foster in the Environment Agency’s Field Operations team said:
The Environment Agency normally only removes debris that could cause an obstruction, and a flood risk. So this is another great opportunity to pool resources with the councils to clear all litter and debris we find in the rivers and have a thorough spring clean.
Our teams are trained to work in deep water, using specialised equipment and protective suits to remove debris from the river. Last year we had a few surprises, especially when we pulled an old dentist’s chair out of the river. We also collected up to 30 tyres from the river in Darlington. Fly-tipped rubbish is not only unsightly, but could increase the risk of flooding in bad weather if it gets washed further downstream.