Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

74 % of Residents Say NO to Ribble Barrage

A survey of residents carried out by the Lancashire Evening Post (LEP) shows that an overwhelming 74% of people do not want Preston City Council’s Barrage (LEP front page 30/6/07).

As a group of local residents, the results of this survey come as no surprise to the Save the Ribble Campaign. Since Preston City Council first unveiled its Riverworks project in 2005 we have campaigned against their proposal to construct a barrage on the Ribble and build on our green belt and floodplain, highlighting the disastrous consequences for our environment and local communities.

The LEP survey shows that residents are opposed to the barrage primarily because of its threat to wildlife and the environment, as well as because of concerns about flooding, and because they think it is simply unnecessary.

Residents are very aware that a barrage on the Ribble would interfere with its delicate ecosystem and have catastrophic effects on the wildlife that depends on the most important estuary River in Britain. Residents are also concerned about the threat to their green belt and open spaces which would result from Preston City Council’s proposals to build an urban development (Riverworks Central Park) opposite Avenham and Miller Parks and to develop the Ribble corridor up as far as Brockholes.

These developments will include building houses, shops and businesses on areas of floodplain. The LEP survey comes during recent flooding both locally and nationally and it is clear that the danger of building on our floodplain, also highlighted by the LEP is one that residents take very seriously. And there are new flood warnings in place across Lancashire.

In response to the LEP survey and the concerns of local residents, the leader of Preston City Council, Coun Ken Hudson said that he would oppose development on floodplain if experts objected: “If the Environment Agency are saying that there should be no housing on floodplain land at Preston we would take that very seriously and the houses would not be part of the Riverworks scheme”.

But as we have shown, experts already do object to developing on floodplain and the existing Environment Agency policy is to advise against building on floodplain. Indeed, in the same LEP article an Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We object to anything which will increase the flood risk. We don’t support any development on floodplain land”.
Sounds like fairly clear advice to us. So why isn’t Coun Hudson and his Council listening?

The problem for Preston City Council is that the housing and development is essential to the overall Riverworks project. They need to offer our green belt and floodplain to developers to help fund the many, many tens of £millions cost of the barrage. Without the housing development on our green belt and the riverside businesses and shops the barrage cannot be built and Riverworks is no longer feasible.

Coun Hudson repeats the Council mantra that “Riverworks is a feasibility study only and if at the end of the day it says it is not feasible then we will not do it”. If Preston City Council chose to listen to the advice of experts it would have already accepted that Riverworks is not feasible and would drop its plans immediately before any further tax payers money is wasted in pursuing it.

Unfortunately, as we have already highlighted, Preston City Council seems intent on pursuing the barrage and associated Riverworks development and sees them as “key project proposals” of its economic development strategy and vision to become the North West’s third City.

The idea that Preston needs Riverworks to help it become the North West’s Third City is rejected by 73% of the residents surveyed by the LEP.

It is clear that most residents would prefer an alternative vision for their area which enhances and protects their River and green spaces from development.
We believe that it is high time that Preston City Council stopped listening to the un-elected and unrepresentative Preston Vision Board and instead started listening to and engaging with the concerns and wishes of local residents. Until then local residents will continue to actively oppose Preston City Council’s proposals to barrage our River and build on our green spaces.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Richard Runs for the Ribble

Broadgate resident Richard Merrick is entering the ‘Run Preston’ 10k Race as a ‘Save The Ribble’ Runner, to oppose the Riverworks Barrage and housing scheme, and to raise awareness of the beauty and importance of the River Ribble.

Richard Merrick pauses to admire the River Ribble

I went to interview Richard, and to photograph him getting ready for the event with a training session.

Richard, a Theatre Nurse began running less than a year ago to help lose weight and get fit. "I changed my diet, cut out alcohol and started running regularly along the banks of the Ribble. Since then I’ve lost over four and a half stone and feel much healthier.”

“I love running by the Ribble, every time you run by it, you see something different, it has so many moods and so much to offer. Sometimes the tide is in and the sun reflects beautifully off the rippling waters, and sometimes while you run you can see the birds feeding on the exposed mud banks“.

Richard has been a Broadgate resident for 17 years “It annoys me that a bunch of property developers and politicians can come along, without consulting local people at all, and propose something that could drastically change our area, and add to the flood risk for local housing”.

“People use the river for all kinds of things, I run past walkers, cyclists, anglers and horse riders. I also coach a local kids football team, who often play at Vernon’s, an area under threat of being built over with loads of houses as part of the Riverwork’s proposals. Where will the kids play football then? Preston is a football town, and we need to make sure our kids have a chance to get regular healthy activity, or we’ll have even more obese youngsters growing up in Preston - but the needs of local kids seem to go out of the window when developers sniff the chance to make a big profit”.

“I ran my last 10k race in Manchester, and did it in 45 minutes, 28 seconds. I’m aiming to at least equal that time in the Run Preston event, because I want to know it wasn’t a fluke!”

Age before beauty! Richard and his Father in Law, Dr Robert Murtland

Helping Richard prepare for the event was his Father in Law, International Tropical Ecologist Dr Robert Murtland.

Dr Murtland has extensive experience as an ecologist, beginning in 1965 when he was part of the Lancashire County Council team that did the initial survey on the Trough of Bowland. Since then he has worked all over the world on ecological and forestry projects, in countries as diverse as Sri Lanka, Yemen, Kenya, Serbia Montenegro and Pakistan, where he was involved in a scheme to mitigate siltation occurring behind the Indus dam. Recently he has been giving Induction training to the Irish Government’s Rapid Reaction Force, people who will intervene at very short notice in ecological catastrophes like floods, Tsunami’s or the aftermath of war.

Dr Murtland said “Any barrage across the Ribble would be plagued with problems, in particular it would raise the water table underneath surrounding land - including areas that are currently occupied by housing. There is no doubt that it would be a barrier to migratory fish such as the Atlantic Salmon, and it would also suffer from heavy silt deposition behind the barrage - just like the Indus, which is another river that carries a heavy load of silt. Obviously that is silt that ought to be getting down to the River Estuary where so much bird life depends on it. There will also be problems of water quality, due to the build up of nitrates and phosphates in the water behind the barrage, causing the production of blue green algae which will reduce the oxygenation of the water”.

Richard shows a clean pair of heels

The race will take place on Saturday 8th July 2007, the 10km race starts at 10am, and last year it attracted over 1300 people to run through the City’s streets. We hope many supporters of ‘Save The Ribble’ will turn out to cheer Richard on to a great time.

Dr Murtland relaxes after his training session with Richard

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Widespread Flooding Highlights Barrage Dangers

Yesterday was a day of widespread flooding across the UK, which luckily we in Lancashire escaped.

The worst of the flooding was in the North East, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, particularly the River Don near Sheffield, and currently people living near the Ulley reservoir dam are being evacuated as it is showing signs of cracking.

Save The Ribble has been trying to explain to our council officials and developers that torrential rains like this are likely to become much more common as global warming takes effect.

A river barrage that permanently raises our river to high tide, coupled with 4000 new homes in the Ribble flood plain would raise the water table beneath our homes, and exacerbate the risk of flash flooding as land that could previously soak up excess water is covered with concrete and tarmac. A barrage would prove to be an obstacle to the Ribble when it is in spate.

Preston and Penwortham recently had their own flash floods,
which luckily for us, occurred when the Ribble tide was out. Had a barrage been present, holding the river at high tide and preventing the free outflow of these waters, the consequences for local residents could have been far worse.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Urgent Narmada Appeal - Solidarity Needed From Ribblesiders

We received the following message from the International Rivers Network, it explains about how a local community in India is resisting the damming of their river, and who find their views and needs being ignored by those with political power (does that sound familiar?). - please click on the link now and send messages of protest about the treatment of the villagers of Gunjari to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh!

"On June 11, 2007, the government of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh closed the gates of the Omkareshwar dam in the Narmada valley. Since then, dozens of villages have been flooded, and houses, fields and trees have disappeared under the water. Most families from the submerged villages have not been given new land -- they have nowhere to go.

Since the submergence started, the affected people have been doing everything in their power to protest their unjust treatment and the destruction of their livelihoods. People in semi-submerged Gunjari village in Madhya Pradesh are refusing to vacate their houses, and women are standing knee-deep in water for hours. In Khandwa, the district headquarters, 4,000 people have been sitting in protest, facing strong monsoon rainstorms, for more than two weeks.

Residents say that they will not vacate their villages until adequate rehabilitation is provided by the administration. Support the demands of the people in the Narmada Valley by sending a letter to the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh!

Visit the following website to send the letter:

In solidarity,

South Asia Team

International Rivers Network"

You can read our earlier coverage of the Narmada Dam protests (and other pro-river campaigns around the world) here.

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Protect Our Allotments!

Allotments are great for people and the environment:

This great picture is from 'Tales From The Allotment' a local Preston Allotment blogger, who is also a talented artist and a member of Save The Ribble, it really points out the reasons why Allotments are gaining in popularity.

His best post so far is this one on the various benefits of allotment keeping.

Save The Ribble is making a stand about the importance of allotments because the developers and property consultants behind the Riverworks Barrage proposals desperately want to get their hands on this land so that they can build housing and business premises over it.

The facts are that Preston is one of the unhealthiest towns in the country, and people badly need the fresh organic vegetables they can grow on their allotments, and that the allotments in question are actually in the Ribble flood plain, and currently help us with our flood protection (they are like big sponges that soak up rain and flood water, preventing it getting to our houses). These facts don't seem to matter to our council, when there are huge potential profits at stake.

Allotment plotter also painted this great picture, pointing out the kind of beautiful scenery we could lose if the Riverworks proposals go ahead. Preston is one of the few cities where within five minutes walk of the town centre, you can find yourself in open countryside, with cows grazing. It is one of the great things about living in Preston, and local people don't want to lose this beautiful green land to yet another suburban housing estate.

Where Preston wants to build on the greenbelt land beside the Ribble - the darker pink areas would all be new housing

Read more about the threat to our allotments, and the campaign to save them here.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Brockholes: A Wetland Wonderland!

To celebrate the Wildlife Trust saving Brockholes Wetland from development - which they only managed to achieve with YOUR help - they held a special celebration by inviting just a small number of the huge numbers of people who helped to Save Brockholes.

Even that relatively small proportion of the total numbers saw several dozen people enjoying guided tours of the new Wetland - not to mention a delicious lunch and a nice cup of tea!

Our guides explained to us what their plans are to improve the site, some of which is still a raw patch of recently-quarried land - but this is a bonus as the Wildlife Trust can ensure that their habitat restoration is exactly what is needed!

Whilst some of the lakes and their bankside habitats have already seen a significant amount of habitat restoration, the Wildlife Trust will have to revisit many of these areas to make more sympathetic alterations. This will include reducing the heights of many of the islands in the lakes as they are not the natural island habitats many species prefer, and removing a large proportion of the Willow which is in danger of taking over.

Brockholes Wetland is on the banks of the Ribble, East of Preston, and has, in just a few years, become one of the most important sites for a number of bird and insect species - the second most important for Whimbrel in Britain! And with the Wildlife Trust's work on the site only just beginning, this will ensure that the Whimbrel and the huge number of other bird, insect, and mammal species, will thrive here in perpetuity.

The various interlinked habitats at Brockholes offer such a wealth of biodiversity, it is a truly amazing place already - and it will be 3 years or so before it's at its best!

There are the lakes themselves of course...

...with Bullrushes and other marsh and wetland areas...

...bankside habitats and woodlands...


...and species-rich grasslands...

...and the largest remaining section of ancient woodland in Lancashire...

...including Boilton Wood, Brockholes Wood, Red Scar Wood, and leading on to Tun Brook Wood, and much of this stretch of ancient woodland runs unbroken for several miles, and has been here for thousands of years. To walk in these wild woods is truly amazing, full of bird song and incredible biodiversity...

Tun Brook ancient woodland follows the Tun Brook as it flows through to the Ribble where it becomes Red Scar Woods...

...Swifts screaming over Boilton Wood...

...and Sand Martin colonies below Red Scar Woods along the River banks...

Brockholes Wetland is a fantastic site already, and will be one of the best Nature Reserves in the whole of the UK within just a few short years!

And most importantly of all, of course, the River Ribble curves on its way through the whole area, linking riverbanks with woodland, marsh with meadows, and curves right around three-quarters of the Brockholes Wetland site...

You can join us for our own Celebration of Brockholes Wetland on Saturday 4th August when the Save The Ribble "Ribble Way Walk to Brockholes" takes place as part of the Ribble Coast & Wetlands Walking Festival!

Further details are here on our Ribble Events list, so come along for a fantastic day out along the Ribble - and a Celebration of Brockholes Wetland!!

For more information about the huge range of bird and other species which are already thriving here at Brockholes Wetland here, and see the Wildlife Trust here, and here.

Contact us at

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tales from the Riverbank

In keeping with the nautical them set by the Riversway Maritime Festival at the weekend, we couldn't resist this hilarous and also moving account of a canoe trip down the Ribble which Preston Ribblesider Darren told us about last summer, and, finally responding to our requests for a blog article about the trip at the time, sent it in to us this morning...

' Mice 'n' Men

Last summer, around about this time, my friend Neil and myself decided to take a canoe trip on the river. The mission was to head out toward the estuary near Lytham returning on the incoming tide alive and still smiling. We borrowed an old, battered, 12 foot Canadian canoe from a friend and headed to the concrete launch next to the sea cadets on strand road. With paddle in one hand and canoe in the other we tiptoed down the bank avoiding the dog turds and broken glass. After wading through a few feet of off -white scum we boarded our vessel and set forth.

It was midday, not a cloud in the sky and the sun was beating down on our bare skin. We had timed our launch to coincide with the change of tide, an hour or so after high tide. This meant we were travelling with the river as it flowed out to sea.

It takes a little patience when you first begin to canoe together, timing the strokes and learning to steer, but by the time we had reached the entrance to the dock basin we had arrived at some sort of understanding. Just as well really! Approaching rapidly at a fair rate of knots, its *rse deep in the river churning up the water, the bow standing proud 3 feet from the surface was a speedboat. Little time later the craft, its occupant and the passenger on tow 20 or so feet behind powered past with all the authority of an aquatic 4x4. Having to turn the canoe to meet the oncoming waves head-on for stability I caught the eyes of twenty or so fishermen lined up along the dock wall opposite. Although nothing could be said between the anglers and ourselves, we were too far apart, there was a brief moment of “connection” a sort of collective consciousness: Hanging between us above the wake on the river, the sound of the 150bhp engine disappearing in the distance, was a large speech bubble. Half made from aether and half made from petrol fumes it contained the words “ what a w**k*r!”

Our encounter with James Bond had left us somewhat shaken and a wee bit stirred. However we recaptured our serenity and continued on our way, slightly slower than walking pace and slightly faster than driftwood. As we made our way under the electricity cables towering above us and onward to the river Douglas the difference between Neil's and my personality became apparent. Neil flirts with cynicism and seems at home with the incongruous, so he cast his gaze, ears and mind to the right; the northern bank. He heard the high pitched shrill of the motor-cross bikes revving and racing their way through a Sunday. He pondered on the ramifications of radioactive effluent seeping into the Ribble from Savick Brook. He bent his head backward offering up his nostrils in the hope of catching a whiff of the large land-fill site and he stared into the distance hoping to get his first glimpse beyond the small wooded screen of the factory which produces weapons of mass destruction. I on the other hand like things as they should be, if anything my sensitive nature leans more to the romantic. So I kept my thoughts and eyes to the left; the south bank. Green banks of well cropped grass, bleating sheep, and weathered hawthorn bowing to the east was the order of the day for me!

We stopped at the Douglas tributary for a leg stretch and a bite to eat before continuing our journey. Our plan was to get as far as Lytham, pull alongside the promenade, disembark, down several cold beers in the nearest pub whilst waiting for the tide to change then head off home. Reality had other ideas. It soon became apparent as the tide continued to drop and the channel became narrower that we were picking up speed, not by much, but enough for both of us to realise the possible consequences. As the thoughts of being spat out to sea and heading off to Ireland or worse still America dawned, tomorrow's headlines began to write themselves in my head: “Two Bearded Terrorists Smelling of Fish Captured off Boston Coast” or “Barrage required: Safety of Canoeists Paramount.” With that very much in mind we pulled over to the northern bank, the Lytham windmill in view across the large expanse of silt.

The mud flats on the northern bank are intersected by small channels about 6 feet wide and it was in one of these channels we now found ourselves. Water was continuing to drain as the tide dropped so it wasn't long before the bottom of the canoe was sat more on mud than in water. As I attempted to climb out in readiness for the long walk across to the promenade my leg sank up to the thigh in the mud. I heaved myself with great effort back aboard and the two of us recognising our predicament frantically tried to free the canoe from its land-locked environment. Not easy! A good 10 minutes of aerobic exercise eventually saw us free and back floating in the narrow channel of the Ribble. Even though the tide had practically reached its low point it was still a struggle paddling back up-stream as we headed for safe ground 200 metres ahead. Thirty minutes later we were stood on terra firma, Neil's back bright red with sunburn and me one leg white and the other blackened with silt.

We were opposite the fenced perimeter of British aerospace with about 3 hours to kill before the tide turned offering us our lift back to Preston. So we temporarily left the canoe and set off on foot to Warton in search of refreshments. It’s a surprisingly long walk but eventually we were heading back to the peace of the river with a few cold beers for company.

On our return we were greeted with the tranquil ambience of a summer's evening by an English river. We dragged the canoe into the water and sat pointed towards the skyline of Preston. Bathed in the sunset and not a ripple on the surface of the river we sat watching as nature did its thing. A flock of birds passed back and forth in front of us, each change of direction the flock made reflected the evening sun in a captivating iridescent light show. Knowing time was getting on we started paddling homeward but the progress was painfully slow. About 10 or so metres ahead were a line of ducks, it appeared they were mocking our pitiful efforts but I think in retrospect they, like us, were waiting for their lift. We were just about to throw in the towel, convinced that the tide was having the evening off, when we heard the unmistakable gurgle of moving water. We both turned our heads to see the approaching bore, and what a sight! Behind the 8 inch high wall came a turbulent, broken mass of Irish Sea water gently lapping the banks as it regained old ground. In front a silky smooth reflective surface of unbroken water.

Poised for action, paddle in water and head cast back over shoulder, we waited. It felt just like the Guinness advert, except unlike galloping white stallions we were faced by little white mice! That's not to belittle the event, I can promise we were both buzzing. We hooted like cowboys as the back end of the canoe lifted and our strokes matched the pace of the moving water. We were off! Riding the Ribble bore homeward bound. Fantastic!

Incompetence and a leaking canoe prevented a sustained surf at the sharp end and the mice finally got away. We had to content ourselves with a back seat view and watch on as rocks disappeared from sight engulfed as the itinerant tide graced our river. Although we were forced to stop on a few occasions to bale out the wet stuff, the continued speed of the incoming tide enabled us to arrive back at the sea cadets in time for last orders, and that has to be a good thing!

Mission completed.'

Thanks Darren!

See more Tales From the Riverbank here and here

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mud and Maritime Festival

This weekend saw Preston Docks hosting the Riversway Maritime Festival, and the Ribble Mud Festival too!

The hundreds of people who flocked to the Docks in droves had a fantastic weekend enjoying the sight of the boats in the harbour...

...and finding out about why Ribble mud is so important!

There are a huge variety of boats using the Ribble, and many of them came to celebrate Preston's maritime heritage at the weekend, from sailing yachts and dinghies of all shapes and sizes, to canal barges...

...and large boats like the Environment Agency's maritime survey vessel... the smallest boats such as inflatable dinghies...

...and even a catamaran.

A huge variety of boats use the Ribble week in and week out, all year round, as they have done for centuries, without the necessity of a barrage, as boat users wait for the tides and weather conditions to be suitable for their journey, whether at work or play. Many boat users use the Ribble because they enjoy the excitement and fascination of a tidal river, and appreciate it for the natural habitat and wildlife wonderland that it is.

As part of the Maritime Festival, the RSPB and Action Ribble Estuary held the Ribble Mud Festival amongst the many other attractions on the Docks, and had a wealth of information about the Ribble ecosystem and how it works - and just why all that glorious mud is so important!

...and there was also a wealth of brilliant activities for children (of all ages!) to enjoy as part of the Maritime Festival, from Ribble painting activities... clay creatures of all sorts of wonderful variations, made by children (and their parents!) who like nothing better than getting their hands dirty...

There was also wildlife badge-making...

and basket weaving...

amongst the many activities for everyone to enjoy.

The Ribble wildlife who frequent the Docks didn't seem to mind all the activity - the gulls particularly enjoying the extra snacks available...

...while the ducks had an afternoon nap...

...and the swans concentrated on the serious business of making sure everything on their imaginatively-constructed floating nests were ship-shape...

Out on the Ribble, there was an angling competition on the Bullnose...

...and the view downriver at high tide was fabulous as the rain stopped and the sun came out...

...sparkling on the Ribble waters through the open dock entrance... the traffic came and went.

All in all, it was a fantastic event for everyone, and we had a great time.

The Ribble, as an intertidal river and estuary, is great for people as well as wildlife.

Long Live the Ribble Wild!

Another event which we went to this weekend was a special invitation-only Celebration launch at Brockholes Wetland, which we will tell you about in a couple of days...

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

LEP Barrage Survey - What Are YOUR Views?

Aswell as running a story on how much worse yesterday's flooding in South Ribble and Preston could have been had the Ribble had a barrage keeping the river levels permanently high, the Lancashire Evening Post are running a Survey asking YOU for YOUR views about the Riverworks Barrage proposal.

The LEP Survey is available online on the LEP website, and they plan to open the debate by setting out the pros and cons of the Barrage proposal...
Many local residents - such as ourselves - have made no secret of our opposition to these proposals, and these are the central arguments:

Preston City Council and Preston Vision Board claim that:

1. the River is “bleak, barren and undeveloped”, and “severely underutilised” and that the barrage will “enhance both the natural and built environment” (Riverworks Document 01: "Quality Riverside");

2. 'the development of a barrage across the river [will] provid[e] a range of economic benefits', (Preston Economic Regeneration Strategy and Prioritised Action Plan p7);

3. that it will create 'many new opportunities for river usage ranging from angling, boating and general water-based recreational activities to birdwatching, walking , horse riding and cycling' (Riverside Doc 01);

4. that a barrage will 'contribute greatly to Preston's flood defence' (Riverside 01).

We claim that:

1. This attitude:

- ignores the crucial importance to wildlife of this Internationally recognised intertidal habitat (which is Internationally protected due to its incredibly rich intertidal ecosystem - anything but "barren"!);

- crassly presumes that one of Britain's last great wildlife and wilderness areas "needs" to have developments on it!

- ignores the beauty and character and existing "utility" of this unique river;

- presumes that the only way to boost its "utility" is by building a barrage, whereas Environmental groups, local people, and other Local Authorities have more forward-thinking ideas about boosting the local economy, tourism and leisure on the Ribble through the enormous opportunities the Ribble Coast & Wetlands Regional Park will bring. This is based upon the Ribble's NATURAL intertidal wetlands, with many Nature Reserves, footpaths and cycleways, boating, angling, birdwatching, cycling, horseriding, and walking opportunities, which will create at least 4,600 jobs and generate an EXTRA £115 million EVERY YEAR for the local economy from new visitors alone - and all WITHOUT A BARRAGE!

2. Regarding the claimed "economic benefits", a Ribble barrage will actually be a serious economic DRAIN on local resources, not just in the many, many £millions it will cost to construct, but PERMANENTLY as the constant environmental effects will constantly have to be mitigated against - such as loss of protected habitats, increased floodrisk, land drainage pumping stations due to rising water table, water quality problems and blue-green algae, and loss of fish stocks. Such effects as these are costing the Cardiff economy over £20 million every year, year on year, since the Taff Barrage was completed...
See our article on the Economic and Environmental Consequences of Barrages for more details. On the Ribble, we would also lose many of our potential new visitors to the Ribble Coast & Wetlands if these very wetlands are depleted - a very real risk with a barrage which will actively prevent the river's natural movements of waters and silts.

3. Thousands of us already engage in 'angling, boating and general water-based recreational activities to birdwatching, walking , horse riding and cycling' on the Ribble as NONE OF THESE ACTIVITIES NEED A BARRAGE.

It is nonsense to claim that leisure resources will be increased by plans that will damage or destroy the biodiversity and tranquillity of the River and riverside areas, and the very environment which hundreds of thousands of birds and fish and other wildlife depend on. Part of the pleasure for many boat users is enjoying the natural rhythms of the tides...

4. A Ribble Barrage would INCREASE our floodrisk as Preston is NOT at risk from the sea, but from river flooding during heavy rainfall periods - as is South Ribble, Walton le Dale, and a number of other Ribbleside communities. The Ribble is Nature's drain for a huge area of the North West: we block that drain at our peril!

See our article: Protecting Ribble Communities From Flooding: Why a Barrage Won't Work for more details. Many Ribble communities may also find floodrisk increasing due to the potential loss of the Ribble's mudflats and saltmarsh the barrage could cause as these wetlands are the most effective and sustainable forms of flood defences.

But don't just take our word for it... here are what environmental experts and other people directly concerned with the sustainability and future of our environment have to say:

- Laurence Rose, Regional Director of the RSPB said:
‘the barrage could destroy one of Britain’s most delicate ecosystems’ and “we are extremely concerned about a barrage across a protected estuary because anything that interferes with the hydrology of the estuary is prima facie bad news.”
(The Kirkham and Fylde Express, April 19th 2007);

- Dave Dunlop, from the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside, said:
The Wildlife Trust "shares the concerns of the RSPB… any development that would further constrain its natural functioning is a bad idea, and would presumably be in breach of the UK Government’s obligations under international convention and law."
(See comments on our blog Fylde community speaks out against the barrage.)

- David Hinks, Chairman of the Ribble Fisheries Consultative Association, told us:
"The history of barrages placed across rivers shows that they impede migratory fish. The Ribble, thanks to the great efforts of anglers…, the habitat work of the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust and Environment Agency, is just beginning to meet its spawning deposition target. Anything that puts this development back will put the Ribble at risk as a major salmon river. The whole ecosystem of the Ribble is delicately balanced yet Preston City Council refuse to speak to angling representatives."

- According to the Environment Agency, ‘the presence of a barrage structure across the [river’s] main water body automatically places it at high risk of not achieving the WFD [EU WaterFramework Directive] objectives’. The River Ribble is the UK’s Pilot WFD River.

- Fylde MP Michael Jack said:
“Mankind has an enormous responsibility to look after the estuary and its wildlife and I don’t think we should be monkeying around with that for the sake of making money. You play around with nature at your peril. I remain deeply sceptical about this proposal.”
(The Lytham St Annes Express, on April 19th 2007);

It is also the case that the many Legislations which protect the Ribble because of its International, and European and National importance to the environment presume AGAINST any project which might impact on this delicate inter-tidal ecosystem - unless there is no alternative - which there is: DON'T BUILD ONE.

And if it's a question of aesthetics - always a subjective issue but important if we are to consider what ENHANCES the natural environment - we know which WE prefer...

Ribbleside habitat and views towards Brockholes: a landscape lost forever if the riverside developments and concrete walkways and mooring bays are constructed from Preston to Brockholes as proposed...

The ever-changing tides and moods of the Ribble at Penwortham Old Bridge, one of the potential sites for the barrage...

The wild beauty of the Ribble and intertidal mudflats at the Douglas (Asland) - another potential site for the barrage...

Cardiff's barrage, not exactly attractive...

Complete the LEP's Ribble Barrage Survey - let them know what YOU think!

See the links on the sidebar for more information about why the Ribble is so important.

"The care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart" Tanako Shozo Save The Ribble Logo