AN angler fighting a prolonged battle with fly-tipping has landed some success after an area of the River Irwell was cleaned up.

In May, the Bury Times reported on Eric Owen’s battle to clean up the area, after he reported fly-tipping of domestic and commercial waste in the river, including sofas and internal doors, as well as cans and litter.

Mr Owen, of Keswick Drive, Bury, is a member of the Ramsbottom Angling Association and leases a section of the River Irwell. A section off Dumers Lane in Radcliffe was particularly bad and included building rubble and domestic waste, but the area has now been cleaned up by Irwell Valley Housing Association, who own the land.

Another area of the river has been improved near Outwood Road in Radcliffe, with rubbish being cleared and security fences and gates being installed by Bury Council after a long campaign by anglers.

Mr Owen, aged 44, says he is happy this work has been completed, but is still pushing for further clean-up work to be carried out in other affected areas.

He said: “There is no more rubbish going in the Irwell from that section but we have got other sections that need to be done. Our aim is to stop all pollution in the Irwell. It is a long-term thing but if we get results like this it gives a message to other people that we are not going to stand for it.

“It also gives a message to other people that this is our river and that we should all look after it.”

Mike Duddy, chairman of Salford Friendly Anglers, whose members fish on various parts of the Irwell in Bury, Radcliffe and Whitefield, said he hopes the perception of the river as ‘dirty’ will change in the future.

He said: “Fly-tipping has been a problem along the Irwell for many years. People still view it as a dirty river but now it is quite the opposite; the water is very clean and a range of wildlife are there, such as otters and kingfishers.”

A spokesperson for Irwell Valley Housing Association added: “Irwell Valley carried out a large scale clear-up of the area.

“We're grateful to local residents who assisted and who are equally appalled at the disregard some people show for their neighbourhood and the environment in persistently dumping litter. We are installing CCTV along the river bank so that we can identify the perpetrators and bring prosecutions.”