Town's rivers set for major clean up

VIDEO HELP turn Ipswich's rivers into green and pleasant oases.That was the call today from organisers planning a major river clean up in the town on September 16.

HELP turn Ipswich's rivers into green and pleasant oases.

That was the call today from organisers planning a major river clean up in the town on September 16.

The environmental revamp will concentrate on the River Gipping, near the Yarmouth Road and Handford Road bridges, and in the Belstead Brook park.

Work will include rubbish clearing and litter picking both above and below the water, and conservation work to improve habitat for wildlife.

The event starts at 10am and will finish with a party, including live music, at the Millennium Wood at 3pm.

It has been organised by the Greenways project with help from Community Service Volunteers and supporters of the cycling charity, Sustrans.

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James Baker, from Greenways, said they were hoping to get 100 volunteers to lend a hand.

He said: “Last year we got about 180 people but then ITV featured a week of conservation activities with big prizes up for grabs.

“We had as many as we could cope with then. This year we are hoping to get about 100 people who are doing it because they want to improve the environment of their town.”

Teams of canoeists and divers will be helping with the clean up effort - and some of the items recovered last year give an indication of the scale of the problem.

Mr Baker said: “In a 30-yard stretch of the River Gipping last year we found 87 shopping trolleys, 40 bikes and two motorcycles.

“And the divers said there were clearly more shopping trolleys down there that they were not able to get hold of.”

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's, whose Hadleigh Road store is next to the River Gipping, said a new type of trolley with automatic-locking wheels had been introduced three months ago.

“We find these are very effective, and since they have been introduced we don't think we have lost any trolleys,” she said.

Ray Wand from Sustrans said clearing vegetation from the side of cycle paths was very important if people were to be persuaded to get on their bikes.

He said: “The last thing cyclists want is to be hit in the face by a bramble - but litter is also a problem.

“Bottles are bad news on roads and paths, broken glass can easily cause a puncture. We are happy to join in the efforts to try to make the area cleaner and much more attractive.”