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Peterborough and District Angling Association team up with the Wombles of Spalding Common to clear River Welland in Spalding





Litter-pickers took advantage of the unusually low water in a town’s river to fish out the rubbish.

Volunteers from the Peterborough and District Angling Association teamed up with the Wombles of Spalding Common to clear the River Welland in Spalding.

Traffic cones, trolleys and other debris were revealed last week after the Environment Agency had lowered the Welland as part of its work to help the Crowland and Cowbit Washes recover after being flooded following Storm Henk.

Peterborough and District Angling Association and Wombles of Spalding Common teamed up to clear debris from the River Welland: Jonny Crane, James Richard Powell, Ulvis Strokss and Daniel Lewandowski. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
Peterborough and District Angling Association and Wombles of Spalding Common teamed up to clear debris from the River Welland: Jonny Crane, James Richard Powell, Ulvis Strokss and Daniel Lewandowski. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

Rob Harris, chair of P&DAA said: “We went all the way through Spalding litter picking the banks in general – we found all sorts – trolleys, traffic cones and scrap metal.

“It is socially important - it is a messy town with anti social behaviour and mess and we feel it is important to give back

“Essentially both parties carry out regular litter picks along the river and we bumped into each other and got together to remove some of the bigger snags as the river is so low we can get to the bigger things.”

The two groups will be doing another litter pick at the weekend and as the water levels are low they were able to wade in to collect the debris.

Rob Harris chairman of Peterborough and District Angling Association responding to an incident where a number of fish had died. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
Rob Harris chairman of Peterborough and District Angling Association responding to an incident where a number of fish had died. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

However Mr Harris is critical of the Environment Agency with ‘ongoing problems’ due to a breach in the bank on the River Welland upstream at Cowbit.

He said: “The litter pick side of it is making the most of a bad situation.

“What should be a six foot deep river is three foot of mud – it is ankle deep and the EA are saying it could be weeks longer.

Rob Ferraro with a trolley and other debris fished out of the river
Rob Ferraro with a trolley and other debris fished out of the river

“It is not great - the ecological impact on the plants and fish. It is prime time for roach in Spalding and they are heading into their spawning time. If they don't spawn in time there is a much longer impact.

“It is dangerous for fish and animals as the scrap metal is potentially toxic.

“We are going again this Saturday with the Wombling group and doing a conjoined one in Peterborough – as anglers we do like to give back.”

Waders enter the water during its low tide to retreive debris
Waders enter the water during its low tide to retreive debris

Mr Harris is also critical of the view that the river is underused and disagrees with the idea to introduce punting and river boats. The idea of introducing punts to the river was mooted by Coun James Le Sage during a recent South Holland District Council meeting.

Mr Harris said: “There seems to be no inclusion of the current stakeholders of the river in that conversation.

“We combat litter and anti social behaviour.

A wader takes out a traffic cone from the water
A wader takes out a traffic cone from the water

“I would like to speak to the interested parties as it would be a challenge for punts to work well in conjunction with angling and we could suggest how this might work.

“They don't realise the work we have in motion – it highlights a big issue. “

This includes introducing younger members to the angling club, continuing with litter picking and other environmental ventures.

Larger items such as traffic cones were taken out of the water and disposed of
Larger items such as traffic cones were taken out of the water and disposed of

Mr Harris said: “We only have half a river which is poor for fishing.

“Flooding affects housing and livelihoods.

“But It is a good thing to highlight and it a way to bring people round to the positives.”

The low tide gave an opportunity to clear rubbish from the River Welland in Spalding
The low tide gave an opportunity to clear rubbish from the River Welland in Spalding

A member of the Wombles of Spalding Common Peter Bird said it was important to have the river being litter free.

He said: “We live in Spalding and we take pride in the town.

“The river is a focal point and if the river looks terrible people feel terrible looking at it so the litter pick creates a good feeling

“We were taking plastic and cans and everything we can get hold of out and getting it ready for the Spalding Flower Parade.

Large items and scrap metal were found in the river
Large items and scrap metal were found in the river
Chest-waders fished out the large debris from the river
Chest-waders fished out the large debris from the river
The groups filled a truck with large items found in the low tidal river
The groups filled a truck with large items found in the low tidal river
Items fished out of the river included traffic cones
Items fished out of the river included traffic cones

A couple of members of the South Holland District Council clearance teams also assisted in removing the rubbish.

What do you think? Post your comments below.



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