September 30, 2008

The Right Policy for Protecting River

By AMY HUNT Environment Reporter

A TEAM of insurance workers did their best to "insure" beaches were cleaned.

Volunteers from AA Insurance donned Wellington boots and waterproofs to help the Clean Tyne Project in its busiest ever month.

The recent torrential rain and flooded land has left a trail of debris in the River Tyne which can be a hazard to craft of all types travelling the river.

Many of the river's beaches and foreshores have been left littered with tons of natural driftwood, which, as well as looking unsightly, can be a danger to walkers, swimmers and wildlife.

The Clean Tyne Project is a partnership between the Port of Tyne, SITA Trust and the river's bordering council authorities of Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Newcastle.

The project aims to clean up the river and raise public awareness of environmental issues.

One of the project's supporters, AA Insurance, based on Newcastle Business Park, heard how bad the foreshores were and offered to help by sending 15 volunteers to clear up a stretch of riverbank next to the RNLI station in North Shields.

AA Business Support team manager Jim Pitt was delighted with his team's efforts. "I couldn't believe the amount of wood on the beach this morning," said Jim.

"The skip is full after only a few hours and the beach area is much cleaner than it was this morning."

The clean-up resulted in the removal of more than one and a half tonnes of driftwood.

Everyone who took part was issued with protective clothing and given health and safety briefings.

Keith Newman, the volunteer coordinator, said: "The Clean Tyne Project has worked for more than five years to help make the river an excellent place to live, work and spend leisure time.

"The freak weather conditions have caused this blip and the project is doing everything possible to get the river back to normal."

Organisations wishing to take part in future clean-ups should contact Keith Newman on 07814 397 951.

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