£100k river clean-up is approved

A MAINTENANCE project on the River Calder that is expected to cost over £100,000 has been approved by Mirfield Town Council. 

Work will be carried out over several years to remove trees and low branches that become entangled with rubbish and plastic during periods of high water flow. The plan also includes the removal of Japanese knotweed and other ‘noxious’ plants that are spreading onto sites along the riverbank in Mirfield. 

Work will take a ‘little and often’ approach and aims to improve river flow as well as alleviate flooding.

Coun Martyn Bolt, who is leading the project, said: “We started off looking at the rubbish aspect of it and the fact that it was an eyesore for the community.

“We’ve also looked at all other aspects, including working to set up volunteers to keep the river banks clean.”

The project could take between three to five years, with the eventual cost amounting to around £100,000 – but Coun Bolt says the bill won’t land solely on the doorstep of Mirfield tax-payers. 

“Myself and Conservative colleagues have proposed that we can underwrite the project,” he said.

“It’s a big price tag but we would underwrite it on the understanding that we’re setting up an environment committee on the town council to deliver this and other aspects.

“We would look at bringing in funding from the likes of The Canal and Rivers Trust, environment agencies and landowners where the weeds are. Mirfield Town Council shouldn’t pay the whole cost but it acts as a guarantor to allow planning and preparation for this.”

With planning now underway, businesses have already come forward to offer their support. 

Coun Bolt added: “The council’s priority is to start with the removal of trees – the other aspects depend on landowners’ support. 

“Groups along the so-called ‘Mirfield promenade’, including Mirfield Rotary Club and Battyeford Marina, have told us they are supportive of the plan. 

“So we’ll be looking to bring them on board in identifying volunteers, helping identify land owners, grant funding etc. 

“The town council is very much acting as a catalyst and a leader on this, but it’s fully a community project.”

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