Areas along Durham City’s waterfront will be cleared of debris as work begins this week to improve the area for visitors.
Durham County Council will work with Durham Cathedral to complete a series of works to improve the safety and appearance of public roads along the River Wear.
The work includes cutting down trees and vegetation that overhang the trail areas and clearing the trails of mud, leaves and debris. The fences along the river promenade will also be cleaned and repainted.
To prevent water build-up along the trails, the council’s research and repair team will also dig canals to alleviate excess water and clear any holes in the masonry to allow water to drain. flow into the river.
In addition to this, the council will work under the direction of the Environment Agency to clean the River Wear from debris that has accumulated through its spillways, particularly the lower spillway at Milburn Gate.
This includes small-scale manual clearing of debris and ensuring the fishway is clear. However, some areas of the river, such as the Upper Weir near Floss Mill, will be left untouched as they are known to harbor otters.
Otters returned to the Wear River after the natural population decline in County Durham between the 1950s and 1980s, and it is hoped that the species’ population will continue to increase.
In order to protect the otters, the council will conduct ecological assessments to ensure that the work done does not disturb the animals or the area where the otter burrow resides.
Cllr Mark Wilkes, member of Durham County Council’s Cabinet for Neighborhoods and Climate Change, said: “We want to make sure that our city is a clean, tidy and attractive place for residents and visitors.
“We have a lovely walk along our river that so many people enjoy, so we want to make sure it remains safe to use while preserving the iconic views of the river, town and historic landmarks that can be seen from these paths.
“We will complete important ecological reports to ensure that the Wear River otter population is not affected by work on weirs, and we are working with all partners such as Durham Cathedral and the Environment Agency to present this area improvement plan to visitors.