The River Ancholme could be totally managed at the local level, according to members of the Ancholme River Trust.
Trust member and Brigg town councillor Mike Storey told the January meeting of the Ancholme River Users’ Group that major changes were taking place as the Environment Agency was set to concentrate on flood prevention and management.
This means issues such as bank grass cutting, removal of silt, river levels and weed control could all be managed at the local level by a combination of voluntary and statutory groups, including local councils.
“We met with the agency and the message is that they now want more devolution,” said Coun Storey.
“The Government has starved them of funds, and management of the river amenities and grass cutting can be done locally and, we hope, better.
“The amenities will be cut early, probably in April, and other areas as required.”
He announced North Lincolnshire Council has been willing to spend £100,000 to get a weed cutter for the river and volunteers will be able to use it.
The River Trust will take out older moorings, such as those opposite the Ancholme Leisure Centre, and will be responsible for fishing platforms.
“We have to be mindful, though, of the limitations of nature and the environment in what we can do, but the only way the river can improve is by taking its management away from the Environment Agency. Their focus is now on flood management,” said Coun Rob Waltham, who chairs both the Ancholme River Users’ Group and the Ancholme River Trust.
“This is what local responsibility is all about and we are in fact changing the system of the way the river is being managed.”
Mr Storey added anyone who knows the river realises a faster flow is needed.
“The old river through Brigg Town Centre has no flow,” he said.
Godfrey Thacker, who runs the Brandy Wharf Marina, gave his support.
“I have been messing about with the Environment Agency since 1996 and I feel that the only way we will get things done in the future is to do them ourselves,” he said.