Saltford Parish Council (SPC) has been contacted by several concerned residents about the pollution and litter resulting primarily from the recent flooding of the River Avon in Saltford.

Many will have noticed the litter on the river bank, as well as sunken boats that have been attached to the river bank that have deteriorated causing environmental damage. Following resident concerns being raised, with several asking who to report such issues to, Saltford Parish Council decided to address this matter at its February meeting.

A boat, attached to a tree in Saltford, has sunk in the River Avon.
(Saltford Parish Council)

Saltford Parish Council resolved at its recent meeting to request B&NES Council to take responsibility for a safer, cleaner river (including river bank) for users and wildlife. B&NES Council is the riparian owner of the river bank in Saltford, and as such SPC views the litter on the river bank and pollution caused by sunken boats attached to B&NES Council owned land as B&NES Council’s responsibility to address. A copy of SPC’s request to B&NES Council can be found on SPC’s website.

SPC also requests that B&NES Council takes responsibility in addressing the cause of such littering and pollution. This includes requesting its Water Space Project to urgently carry out an investigation to gain an understanding of the measures including physical deterrents and byelaws used by other similar local authorities that have effectively dealt with problems associated with unhindered, unregulated use and abuse of rivers.

SPC also requests that B&NES Council consults and works with agencies including the Environment Agency, Canal and River Trust, Wessex Water and – if required – Avon and Somerset Police - to co-ordinate activity across agencies to improve the safety and cleanliness of the river for users and wildlife.

SPC concludes in its letter to B&NES Council that ‘in addition to being a major riparian owner, B&NES Council is the unitary local authority with overarching responsibilities for environmental health, planning and transport with published commitments to protect the natural environment and habitats of our area as well as the provision of safe access to recreational green spaces. This means B&NES Council is best placed to take leadership and responsibility for this agenda on behalf of B&NES residents and the wider community whilst working closely and in partnership [with the relevant agencies].

The Shallows, a boat discarded along the River Avon in January 2023.
(Saltford Parish Council)

SPC’s request for B&NES Council to take responsibility for a safer, cleaner river (including the river bank) has been submitted in letter to Cllr Tim Ball, Cabinet Member for Planning and Licensing at B&NES Council. The letter copied in to B&NES Council’s Leader Cllr Kevin Guy, B&NES Council’s Chief Executive Will Godfrey, the Environment Agency Wessex Area’s Director Emma Baker, CRT’s Wales and South West Director Mark Evans, Avon & Somerset Police Chief Constable Sarah Crew, and Wessex Water’s Chief Executive Officer Colin Skellet, North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Saltford’s B&NES Ward Cllrs Duncan Hounsell and Alastair Singleton.

Saltford Parish Council will share any response received from B&NES Council regarding its request.

SPC encourages residents to report excessive littering on B&NES Council land via Fix my Street. It also urges extreme caution to anyone considering collecting litter from river side areas due to the risk of falling into the water.