Town councillors ready to ‘wade into’ dirty rivers row

Waders at the ready - Councillor Brian Burbidge
Waders at the ready - Councillor Brian Burbidge

Councillors in Horncastle are so fed up by delays in cleaning the town’s rivers they are considering buying a pair of waders and doing the job themselves.

Horncastle Town Council raised concerns about the amount of rubbish in the rivers Bain and Waring after complaints from the public.

Mayor Coun Angela Birchall recently admitted the state of the rivers was ‘letting down’ the town.

Speaking at a Town Council meeting last week, Coun Brian Burbidge said he and clerk Gillian Mauger had attempted to find out who was responsible for clearing the rivers.

Coun Burbidge claimed they had been ‘shifted from pillar to post’ by the Environment Agency and East Lindsey District Council.

He told councillors the Environment Agency had indicated they would only remove rubbish considered to be a potential flood risk.

And he revealed ELDC had told him that they could only remove any rubbish that they could reach from the safety of the bank.

He added he understood ELDC employees were not allowed to enter the water - even though it was only a few inches deep at this time of year.

Coun Burbidge said: “The Environment Agency says if the rubbish is not a flood risk it’s not their responsibility.

“ELDC says throwing rubbish in the river is essentially fly tipping.

“If they can reach it with a mechanical ‘grab’, they will clear any mess.

“If they can’t, there’s nothing they can do, except suggesting we contact the Environment Agency!

“It’s ridiculous, no-one will take responsibility.

“We’re fed up of being passed from pillar to post.

“We might as well go out and buy a pair of waders and a waterproof jacket and do the job ourselves.”

Coun Burbidge confirmed an office chair and a traffic cone had been pulled from one stretch of the Waring.

Coun Maurice Lamb suggested the Town Council should also consider buying some rope - to pull other items out of the river.

Coun Bill Aron said the council should consider re-joining ‘Rivercare’ - a nationally run scheme which would clear the town’s rivers, but there would be a charge for the service.

Councillors agreed to invite a representative from Rivercare to a future meeting to discuss what cost would be involved.