Concerns voiced over state of Brigg river

Green algae on the river in Brigg this summer.
Green algae on the river in Brigg this summer.
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Frustrated members of the Ancholme River Users Group have voiced complaints over the state the waterway now finds itself in.

Green algae has reappeared, believed to be caused by phosphates from farmland finding its way into the watercourse.

The members took issue with the Environment Agency over river maintenance issues over the summer when they met for their autumn meeting at Glanford Boat Club.

“We have been bringing this problem up for many a year,” said Mike Storey of Scunthorpe and District Angling Association.

And members of the Ancholme Rowing Club have also become frustrated.

Their representative told the meeting: “It’s been a green carpet for much of the summer; the season has been ruined.”

Coun Ben Nobbs, representing Brigg Town Council on the group said: “When we have problems, we should get on and sort them out.”

Coun Nobbs also wanted to know from the Environment Agency if clearing of new weed growth on the recently built wall near the County Bridge is included in the annual maintenance priority list?

In an explanation following the meeting, Ian Bliss, Partnerships Manager for Anglian Waterways Environment Agency, told the Mail such work is not on any maintenance list and is done as and when needed.

“At present I am suffering a serious lack of manpower within my team,” added Mr Bliss.

“Most hand work has suffered as a result, with priority being given to works to protect against flooding over other works.”

Members were also concerned at weed cutting and how many cuts had taken place in the summer.

Mr Bliss said weed cutting by boat is programmed for a single cut per year for flood defence purposes.

This cut is timed normally to coincide with getting rid of as much weed as possible, so as there isn’t a lot more growth going into the autumn and winter seasons.

Weed cutting normally happens mid to late August.

Anglers at the meeting were also unhappy at the poor bank cutting which has taken place.

In response, Mr Bliss said: “The grass isn’t cut for recreational purposes.

“My works are funded for flood defence reasons, and that is why the grass cutting regime is programmed as it is.

“There has been no change to grass cutting this year compared to previous years.”

On a more positive note for the town’s waterway, a ‘Brigg Waterways Festival’ is to be launched in the summer of 2014.

Christine Edwards, Manager for Tourism at North Lincolnshire Council, told the Users’ Group meeting the local authority wanted to drive forward the idea.

“We want to increase the numbers of people coming into Brigg.

“Brigg has a fantastic waterfront; we need to make more of it.

“The river hosts a great selection of events through the year; we want to join some of these to make a festival.”

She felt North Lincolnshire had expertise and resources that could be used to develop the festival.

The date proposed is the end of May Bank Holiday, when ‘Lincs Squad’ stage their ‘Bomber Triathlon’ and Glanford Board Club stage their regatta.

A sub-committee is being formed to progress the idea, with further news on the development expected in the autumn.