Driffield News

Paddleboarders on patrol to clean up the Navigation

Members of East Yorkshire Stand Up Paddle were joined by the Mayor of Driffield Cllr Mark Blakeston and Lizzie Carr, the founder of environment community interest group Planet Patrol, to take part in a morning of litter picking and water testing along the Driffield Navigation.

The clean-up was the brainchild of 17-year-old paddleboarder Oliver Leech, who approached the Driffield Navigation Trust with his proposal to team up with Planet Patrol and clear the historic waterway of debris.

Starting at Canal Head, the group of paddleboarders, which included ITV Calendar News reporter Matt Price, made their way along the water, picking up various items of litter.

It’s a long stretch of water and keeping it clear and in good condition for the local community is paramount to us.

david taylor

As well as the usual cans and bottles, the paddleboarders also recovered footballs, traffic cones, a child’s scooter and even a pair of jogging bottoms!

Each piece of litter was recorded on the Planet Patrol app and the aim is to conduct clean ups on the 11-mile Navigation over the next few years as part of an analysis project.

“We’re working alongside Planet Patrol to clean up the river and take litter out of it,” Oliver told the Wolds Weekly.

“We’ll head upwards along the river, put the items in our buckets and once we return, log and photograph everything we have collected.

“By logging the items, it helps academics track litter and the impact it is having and where it is coming from.

“Currently, it’s like a hamster wheel, and the litter just keeps coming back. But Planet Patrol wants to stop it at the source.

“I know that beyond the lock, there is lots of rubbish, but even at this end of the water, we’ve already seen a chair, bricks, tin cans and plastic bottles.

“As the head of the canal, most of the litter is probably floating down here and the plan is to stop that.

“Over the next few years, alongside Planet Patrol, we aim to slowly work our way down the canal and come back and start again, monitoring all the time.”

For Cllr Blakeston, it was his first experience of paddleboarding, but certainly one he found fascinating.

The mayor is now looking to collaborate with Planet Patrol in his role as one of the founders of the Wolds Rangers Way, a 44-mile trail around the Yorkshire Wolds.

“The paddleboarding was great and the canal at Riverhead looks clear of rubbish,” said Cllr Blakeston.

“It was surprising how much stuff we pulled out in a short space of time. It was nice to be invited, the area is such an asset to the town, so anything that can be done to improve it has to be worth getting involved with.

“I’m now going to look at how I can use Planet Patrol with the Wolds Rangers Way to collect and report rubbish.”

Watching the paddleboarders from the safety of the shore were members of the Driffield Navigation Trust.

David Taylor, of the Trust, said the charity was more than happy to accept Oliver’s request to organise the clean-up and praised his proactive approach to helping the planet.

“The Navigation Trust is a charity and we rely on donations and grants to keep the Navigation going,” said David.

“We welcome any help that we can get so when Planet Patrol contacted us to come along and do a litter pick, we were delighted to welcome them.

“Anything to keep the water in a good, pristine condition is important.

“We’re an 11-mile Navigation, that runs from Driffield right along to Aike Beck. It’s a long stretch of water and keeping it clear and in good condition for the local community is paramount to us. It’s brilliant to see, especially a young lad like Oliver who clearly is thinking about how he can help the environment.”

East Yorkshire SUP and Planet Patrol will be hosting another clean-up in Driffield on Sunday 17th July from 11am-1pm.

For more information, visit planetpatrol.co/clean-ups/paddleboarding-clean-up-driffield-hull-723.

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