Volunteers give the River Slea a clean-up

The River Clean up team in action removing a dumped bike near the Sleaford Leisure Centre. EMN-170725-130018001
The River Clean up team in action removing a dumped bike near the Sleaford Leisure Centre. EMN-170725-130018001

Volunteers with the Sleaford River Clean Team were hard at work on Sunday decluttering one of the town’s most attractive assets.

The team staged one of their regular six-weekly clean-up operations of the River Slea on Sunday morning with around a dozen locals targeting the stretch of water from Riverside Precinct down to Cogglesford Mill.

Fishing for litter on the River Slea. EMN-170725-125946001

Fishing for litter on the River Slea. EMN-170725-125946001

There had been recent comments on social media by some townspeople that the waterway was getting into a state with lots of litter appearing and not washing away during the dry spell.

The group is supported by Sleaford Town Council which stores their equipment and takes away any rubbish collected. They split up into groups with some working along the banks, others in waders in the shallows and others in a boat in the deeper sections heading towards Cogglesford Mill.

Two town councillors joined in too, Councillors Ken Fernandes and Steph Dale.

Around a dozen bags were collected, according to first-timer Coun Dale, who added: “There were also a couple of bikes and a computer screen fished out, along with general everyday rubbish like crisp packets, bottles and drink cans.

Clean up on the River Slea. EMN-170725-125957001

Clean up on the River Slea. EMN-170725-125957001

“We each had a bin bag and spent around two hours filling it. The river wasn’t as bad as I expected.

“It had been suggested that the bins that line the river banks were overflowing and people were not dropping their rubbish in the bins, but the bins I saw were empty or only half full.”

She said a number of passers by were keen to join in the next clean up: “The general concensus by members of the public we saw was that we were doing a cracking jobbut we shouldn’t need to be doing it if people looked after their environment and not be so casual about throwing rubbish about. Have a care for the wildlife that could be suffering too.”

Coun Dale added: “It is only natural at this time of year that the weeds and general sludge will be at its peak, so whatever rubbish is floating about will get caught up in this and be quite visual.

The Sleaford River Clean up team armed with their boat to get to those hard-to-reach items. EMN-170725-130007001

The Sleaford River Clean up team armed with their boat to get to those hard-to-reach items. EMN-170725-130007001

“The River Clean Team do a remarkable job.”

The Town Council has met with the Environment Agency’s officials about devising a long term plan to maintain the river.

A group of St George’s Academy students have been involved in the National Citizenship Service during their summer holiday and have been fundraising with a cake sale to support the Lincsolnshire Rivers Trust and the clean up volunteers.

The teenagers donned wellies and waders on Monday and were supplied with bags and litter pickers by the Town Council and cleaned up the River Slea alongside Electric Station Road, heading out along the Rauceby Banks path.

Pupils from St George's who took part in cake sale in aid of the River Slea. EMN-170725-140727001

Pupils from St George's who took part in cake sale in aid of the River Slea. EMN-170725-140727001

They collected 16 bags of rubbish, a pram, a traffic bollard and a parcel shelf.