WOODHOUSE Grove School students are tackling the effects of flooding on their school grounds at Apperley Bridge and they are asking for local volunteers to help achieve this.

The school grounds, with the River Aire passing through at the bottom, is prone to flooding. The path is open to the public to enjoy a river-side walk. The embankment has invasive non-native species Himalayan Balsam which have really shallow roots and leave the bank exposed in winter. Students plan to remove the plant and replace it with willow which has larger roots that can take up more water. This project will complement the nearby flood alleviation scheme at Apperley Bridge.

A group of school pupils are meeting regularly, including on weekends, to weed out invasive species Himalayan balsam and replacing it with native willow. Himalayan balsam produces lots of seeds and spreads quickly then dies back in the winter, leaving the riverbed exposed. Willow, however, has deeper roots and takes up more water. The students will be weaving the branches while they are small into a fedge – a living fence hedge. Weekend sessions will be open to the public to participate in tree planting where all tools will be provided by local environmental charity, Groundwork. For further details, contact louise.ross@groundwork.org.uk or call 07824441534 to book your place.

Mr Peter Lambert, the international coordinator and community liaison officer at the school said: “We care about our environment, so much so, that we are determined to do something about the flooding that has blighted our lives for so long”

This project is made possible thanks to funding by Rawdon Parish Council. It is hoped to be extended to include fruit tree planting in the new year which local residents can harvest via Tesco Bags of Help. Groundwork Community Officer delivering the sessions, Lou Ross, said: “We’d be delighted if local residents got behind this worthy cause by voting for this project in Tesco stores with your little blue tokens from the checkout.”