Leeds & West Yorkshire

Storm Eva flood debris at Bradford rivers 'overwhelming'

River bank West Yorkshire
Image caption Vast amounts of debris litter river banks across West Yorkshire

The amount of debris washed up on riverbanks across Bradford after the Christmas floods is "overwhelming", an environmental charity has said.

The Aire Rivers Trust said volunteers were removing rubbish but the council should take a lead and clear its land.

Debris left alongside rivers includes metal, tyres, toys and plastic.

Bradford Council said it was working with voluntary groups and was looking at how best to remove debris from land it owned.

Thousands of properties across West Yorkshire were flooded after the rivers Aire and Wharfe burst their banks in the wake of Storm Eva at Christmas.

Image caption Volunteer schemes to clear debris have been running across West Yorkshire since January

Kevin Sunderland, from the trust, said: "It is a bit overwhelming when you see it, we have done litter picks before but this time there is just so much."

He said it took nearly a decade to clear debris after flooding in 2000 and the council needed to take the initiative and do more to organise volunteers across the area.

"The first step would be to clear its own parks and recreation areas that front onto the river," he added.

Image caption Debris left by flood water includes tires, tonnes of metal and plastic

The authority's chief executive, Kersten England, said it was aware of the problem.

"In many cases the river banks are still too soft for heavy machinery to be brought in to clear some of the larger items," she said.

"We have been supporting volunteer-led initiatives along the River Aire by providing bags, litter-picking equipment and collecting and disposing of hundreds of bags of debris and rubbish."

The Environment Agency is responsible for clearing debris from the rivers where it poses a flood risk and has been removing tonnes of rubbish from rivers across Yorkshire and Cumbria.

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