Rivers need a spring clean

A CALL is being made today to restore the rivers in Ipswich to their former glory.

A CALL is being made today to restore the rivers in Ipswich to their former glory.

The appearance of the Gipping and Orwell Rivers has changed dramatically over the years due to increased industrial and property development.

Whereas during the 1890s people enjoyed boating and fishing along the rivers, there is now more likely to be litter and graffiti in place.

A group of interested parties formed the River Action Group 12 years ago to promote new opportunities for people to enjoy their river. They are now working with Ipswich Borough Council to draw up a ten-year action plan to maintain the rivers from Ipswich docks to Sproughton, which will include ideas such as boat hire and opening the navigation routes.

Members of the council's Greenways Project currently clean the river and clear the banks of litter, and every September volunteers from the public join in for a mass clean up operation.

James Baker, Greenways Project manager, said: “We would like to have a river warden to really create a community focus. They could go from one end to the other, and clear litter and cut overhanging brambles.

Most Read

“We want to make the area what it was. We are desperate to get people back on the water by having boat hire and a caf� by the river.

“There are lots of ideas and enthusiasm to get it back to its heyday. We want to get people connected to their river again.

“A few years ago the town turned its back on the river with developments facing away from the river. More recent developments now face the river and there are cycle ways now. It is already restoring that sense of pride. It is an important site for wildlife too.”

The River Action Group involves a number of groups, including the Greenways Project, Ipswich Borough Council, Environment Agency, Ipswich Wildlife Trust and Suffolk County Council.

Among the issues they want to tackle include improving access, providing more river paths, and creating areas for picnics, relaxation and children's play. The ten-year plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Tomorrow the Greenways Project has organised a clean-up event along the river from the Wet Dock to Sproughton, involving several volunteer groups and other agencies.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter