Current aims and targets
The Aire Rivers Trust was formed in 2011 and, at present, is concentrating on improving fish passage, river clean ups, educational projects, water quality issues, improved access and eradication of alien invasive plant species.
The River Aire was subject to gross pollution along most of its length from the mid 1800s until the 1970s, the affected length stretching from the entry of the Bradford Beck at Shipley down to the confluence ((2 km North-West of Goole)) with the Ouse near the village of Airmyn. This whole length was basically devoid of fish and associated wildlife and little recreational activity took place there. Even upstream of Shipley, the water quality of much of the river tended to be poor.
Improvement commenced with the formation of Yorkshire Water in the early 1970s ((Water Act 1973)). A more holistic view of the river was taken and poorly performing small sewage treatment works were closed and the effluent directed to the larger works where large investment took place.
In recent times, the Fish Directive 1978 ((Council Directive 978/659/EEC, Council Directive 1991/692/EEC, Council regulation 1882/2003/EC 2006/44/EC codified in Council Directive 2006/44/EC)) (European Freshwater Fish Directive) ensured that the major sewage treatment works, particularly at Esholt (Bradford) and Knostrop (Leeds), were improved. The river now has fish populations along its full length and this has led to the return of otters and other wildlife.
Another piece of European legislation, the Water Framework Directive, is now leading way in improving the ecology of the river and its tributaries and the river is set to improve to a standard which could not have previously been considered possible. The Aire Rivers Trust intends to play its part in the process of improvement, to ensure that the public recognises the improvements which are taking place and to afford the public the opportunities to benefit from this.