River Fresh-ney!

Keeping the River Freshney clean!

Rubbish fished from the River Freshney in the last month will be piled up in Grimsby town centre in a drive to cut littering.
Organisations with connections to the river are backing the campaign to remind people to respect the river and put their litter in a bin or take it home.

It would be better for everyone if people stopped throwing rubbish in the river. North East Lincolnshire Council has cleared 1.2 tonnes of rubbish out of the River Freshney in the last month and is calling on people in the town to take more care of their river.

The Council is responsible for cleaning the stretch of the River Freshney between New Cartergate and the basin at Riverhead. All the rubbish fished from that part of the river in the last month – including shopping trolleys, cuddly toys, cans and plastic bottles – will be piled up in Grimsby town centre on Thursday 22 August to show just how much junk ends up in there.

The Council is teaming up with Anglian Water’s RiverCare project in a recruitment drive to find more volunteers to look after the Freshney and the important natural habitat it provides.

The Council’s street cleansing team pick up litter every day at Riverhead and go in with a boat once a week to fish out other rubbish.

Rubbish they’ve found in the last year include tyres, shopping trolleys, bikes, toys and even dead pets. One of the oddest finds was Hissing Sid – a seven-foot long snake cuddly toy.
Some of the areas along the bank are thick with reeds and can’t be reached from the boat or the banks, so it’s very difficult to remove rubbish from there.

Volunteers from Grimsby in Bloom take care of the stretch near Duke of York Gardens and the RiverCare project is looking for volunteers to look after other parts of the Freshney.
RiverCare is a fantastic, grass-roots project from Keep Britain Tidy and Anglian Water – Love Every Drop. They support groups with all the support and kit they need to get on with the important job of looking after their local area.

Litter is a real threat to our wildlife in and around our rivers, but you can help put a stop to it. Find out more at

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for Environment and Transport at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:
“There’s no excuse for dropping litter. Birds, fish and other creatures in the river don’t want rubbish messing up their home. It’s shocking to see how much our street cleansing team have pulled from the river in just a few weeks, to see it all piled up really brings the message home. Most people respect the river and put their litter in a bin or take it home, so it’s disappointing that some still choose to mess it up. If a bin is full, please help wildlife in the river by finding another bin or taking your rubbish home. I’m grateful to all the volunteers who regularly carry out litter picks along the river, please contact RiverCare if you can give up some time to look after this valuable natural resource on our doorstep.”

Cllr Swinburn added:
“We have enforcement officers on patrol to help protect the local environment, keep the area looking its best and deter litter louts from messing up the river. We’ve also recently replaced our street litter bins with much larger bins that hold almost three times as much rubbish.”

Keep Britain Tidy’s RiverCare programme officer, Catherine Holborn, said:
“The levels of litter and waste pulled out from the river by volunteer groups and North East Lincolnshire Council in just one month is alarming. RiverCare are looking to support any willing volunteers to improve the condition of the River Freshney for wildlife and the local community, and the benefits of coming together to make a difference will be huge.”

Amanda Austin, Centre Director of Freshney Place Shopping Centre, said:
“We are fully supportive in working together to help tackle the problem of rubbish in the river. We regularly undertake litter clearing from the area, which is not only an eyesore but also polluting the River Freshney. It’s a great initiative for us all to join forces in recruiting volunteers to remove waste and clean-up the river. We hope that together we can all help to create a nicer environment for visitors, local residents and the wildlife to enjoy.”

Manfai Tang, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
“We work hard to protect and improve the natural environment by preventing pollution and monitoring water quality. Everyone has a part to play in keeping the Freshney – and all our rivers – healthy, clean and beautiful for people and wildlife. Together, we can help protect our precious water resources and the ecosystems they support.”

Simon Bird, Director of ABP Humber, says:
“We all know how damaging litter and waste entering our waterways can be to habitats and wildlife. Across our Humber ports, colleagues work hard to keep areas clean and tidy. Using cameras we have recorded many different species on the ports including deer and foxes. A recent butterfly count has also indicated the ports have been a hotspot of activity this year.”

The River Freshney is recognised as a site of nature conservation interest and is a home to hundreds of species of animals.

From amphibians, such as frogs, toads and newts, to birds, insects and fish, the Freshney is a habitat for all manner of wildlife. Among the wildlife living in or along the river are birds including swans, coots, mallards, moorhens and swallows. A number of mammals also reside along the banks of the Freshney, such as otters, water voles and bats, although these can tricky to spot.

Under the surface live a number of fish, including pike, perch, bream and even slippery European eels. Insects are also important to life in the river, and different kinds of damselfly, dragonfly and hoverflies can easily be found, in addition to honey bees, spiders and ladybirds.

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