Last weekend marked a milestone in keeping the River Uck and its banks through the centre of Uckfield looking neat and tidy as well as improving things for its resident and transient wildlife.
Mark Davis, taskforce leader and project officer and volunteers from the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust Taskforce teamed up with members of the Brighter Uckfield Campaign to carry out the tenth River Uck spring clean.
On Sunday teams litter-picked the banks from Bridge Cottage downstream to the bypass. Fortunately there was virtually nothing to be removed from the water as days of rain preceding the cleanup had caused the river level to rise, making it unsafe to work in the channel.
Brighter Uckfield co-ordinator Ian Smith said: “It’s really encouraging that since the start of the spring cleanup in 2004 things have improved significantly with no marked deterioration in recent years. In 2004 we removed a staggering 1.8 tonnes of rubbish from river and its banks, now the haul is just counted in tens of rubbish sacks. The banks along the river through Bellbrook Industrial estate are still consistently a problem with litter and waste from commercial premises strewn along the banks. Although this has improved over the years, it forms the bulk of the work during the cleanup event and is very frustrating.”
On Sunday the tally comprised 45 sacks of general litter comprising bottles (glass and plastic,) fast food packaging, plastic straws, carpet off-cuts, flower pots, aerosols, carrier bags, plastic wrapping, and plastic banners advertising carpet sales. Larger items recovered were stepladders, pallets, plastic toys, car batteries, tyres and exhausts. It was worrying to see one company was burning dodgy auto related chemicals and dumping the ash down the river bank. Ian said they intend to follow up this pollution.
Mark Davis added: “I’m glad to report this annual initiative has improved the river through the town, an asset for both residents and a resource for wildlife. It might surprise local people that sea trout make an amazing annual journey up the river from the sea through the town to spawn in the headwaters and tributaries, essential to complete their life cycle and ensure their survival! “Let’s not spoil it for them and the other wildlife, and of course make Uckfield a better cleaner place to live.