A river is flowing through Hala Square in Lancaster for the first time in 20 years.
The Environment Agency has removed a 54m culvert to open up Burrow Beck in the centre of the city with the aim of improving water quality, reducing flood risk and reconnecting the local community with the river.
The work, which took place over three months, has opened up Burrow Beck, a tributary of the River Lune, for the first time in 20 years.
It was officially declared open by Andy Brown from the Environment Agency and local MP Eric Ollerenshaw OBE on Friday.
The 12-week project to open up the river will improve water quality, fish migration and the river’s habitat.
More than 200m of environmental improvements, habitat creation and public amenity along the river bank has also been restored.
A waste facility – a source of local tipping – was also removed during the works.
Working in partnership with Lancaster City Council and Friends of Hala Square Group to incorporate community aspirations, removing this cover has opened up the river and will improve the local environment.
Andy Brown from the Environment Agency says: “It will allow the river to behave more naturally and give local people the opportunity to see what has been flowing beneath their feet.
“Removing the culvert will also reduce the risk of flooding to 67 properties in the area.”
Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw OBE said: “The opening up of this part of the beck is a great example of what can be achieved by returning a water course back as a natural resource.
“My thanks to the Environment Agency, Friends of Hala Square Group and Lancaster City Council for their work on this project.”
The Environment Agency also teamed up with Booths supermarkets to run a competition with local schools to design a logo for the project to be used on the interpretation panel installed on Hala Square, and printed on a limited edition ‘bag for life’ available exclusively at the Booths Scotforth store.
The winning entry was submitted by Sonny Noon, a Year 4 pupil from Moorside Primary School in Lancaster.
Headmaster at Moorside, Rodger Shone, said: “Moorside is very proud to be associated with the restoration work that will benefit everyone who uses Hala Square.
“We are also delighted that Sonny’s artwork is being used as the symbol for the improvements made to this square.”
Mark Langstaff, store manager at Scotforth Booths, said: “We hope Sonny’s artwork will encourage shoppers to think about the effect of plastic on the environment and opt for reusable bags for life.”