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River Stour in Canterbury 'trashed' by litter louts

A precious Kent river is being “trashed” on an alarming scale, say nature lovers.

It follows another clean-up of the Stour in Canterbury in which 15 bin bags full of rubbish and other bulky items were trawled from just 100 metres of the waterway.

Some of the rubbish pulled from the River Stour in Canterbury
Some of the rubbish pulled from the River Stour in Canterbury

The haul included 138 glass bottles, 89 drinks cans, 63 food wrappers, 35 pieces of metal, including shopping trolleys, 28 items of clothing, a pram, a car dashboard and plastic toys.

The clean-up on Monday was organised on a stretch of the Stour behind Sainsbury’s by river wardens from the Our Stour group of the Kentish Stour Countryside Project (KSCP).

One of the volunteers Sian Pettman said: “The volume of litter and fly-tipping in such a short stretch of river is truly depressing and shocking.

“We have tackled this area in the past so it is clear more rubbish is being fly-tipped regularly. The fact is that our beautiful Stour, which is a rare chalk stream, is being trashed and it’s tragic.”

Mrs Pettman believes a hard-hitting campaign with posters and new signage along the river banks is now necessary to raise awareness and deter fly-tipping.

Our Stour volunteers cleaned out the rubbish
Our Stour volunteers cleaned out the rubbish

KSCP Stour officer Lauren Baker added: “The rubbish we are getting out is astonishing, not only in its quantity but also its variety.

“That’s despite numerous waste bins along the river, which doesn’t make sense.”

Lauren believes the absence of plastic bottles does not mean they are not being thrown in the river in the area, but are floating away downstream, unlike glass bottles which fill with water and sink.

She added: “I would like to think after removing so much over the last few weeks, we will remove less next year, but I doubt it.”

City councillor Ashley Clark is drafting Public Space Protection Orders for consideration which would make it an offence to be drinking from glass bottles beside the Stour in Canterbury.

He said: “They are a major menace to the river and I agree that signage also needs to go up to raise awareness of the damage being done.”

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