AN new scheme is to be created in Astley Park to help improve the water quality of the River Chor which flows through the park and woodland.

The project, to create a reed bed to help ‘filter’ the water, was the brain child of the Friends of Astley Park and is expected to move the ecological status of the river from ‘failing’ to ‘good’.

For the past 12 months, the Friends have been working in partnership with Chorley Council, the Environment Agency, Highways England, Groundwork and Lancashire Wildlife Trust to carry out research, under take ecological surveys, draw up a scheme design, gain permissions and secure funding.

The Friends received a grant of over £13,100 through the Lancashire Environmental Fund with additional funding of £5,000 from Chorley Council and £4,000 from Highways England for the project.

The scheme will create a new river channel at the Park Road end of the park which will divert the existing river through a ¼ hectare of wet reed bed planted with Typha augistfolia and Phragmites australis both of which remove pollutants from the water.

This will in turn improve the biodiversity of the whole area through native woodland, wetland and meadow wildflower planting, tree planting and the installation of rock ramps which will enable fish to pass up and down the channel.

Councillor Bev Murray, who oversees Astley Park for Chorley Council, said: “It was the Friends of Astley Park, who do regular clean ups of the river in the park, removing litter and clearing blockages, who came to us with this idea to improve the quality of the water because they were concerned about the lack of plant and fish life in the river.

“The River Chor is a valued feature within the park so it is important we tackle pollution and improve its habitat and the introduction of a reed bed will help do this.”