VOLUNTEERS are being sought to tidy Otley’s riverside this week- as the town’s flood defence scheme edges nearer.

The clean-up event takes place on Thursday, May 16 and is being run by the River Stewardship Company in partnership with the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council.

Members of the community are being invited to lend a hand with litter picking, plus vegetation and tree management, beside the River Wharfe between 10am and 3pm.

Consultants WSP, who are also working on Otley’s Flood Alleviation Scheme with the Environment Agency and LCC, will be taking part too.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said: “Effective stewardship is a key element of maintaining a healthy river system as well as crucially reducing the threat of flooding, which communities in and around Otley continue to be vulnerable to.

“Volunteer days like this are a great way of helping the community, meeting new people and carrying out a really important task.”

Flood risk officer with the Environment Agency, John Woods, added: “We’ve been really impressed with the high levels of attendance and involvement at community drop in events to help to shape our proposals for the Otley Flood Alleviation Scheme.

“The last volunteer day was a great success and we hope people will come out in force again and show how much they love their waterfront.”

To volunteer or find out more contact Sarah Emberson at Sarah.emberson@the-rsc.co.uk, or call 07766 352932.

The Government announced it would be investing £2 million in flood defences after Otley suffered three floods at the end of 2015. Outline designs are now being developed and the next steps will include submitting an outline business case, seeking planning permission and then developing a detailed design.

The options being considered include using flood defence walls, flood defence embankments, maintenance - including vegetation clearance - and riverbank realignment.

Once the final scheme has been chosen construction work is expected to begin this autumn.