GOVERNMENT support for a major project to ‘reconnect’ people with the River Aire through Keighley has been welcomed.

The Aire Rivers Trust initiative aims to get more people involved in conservation work and boost biodiversity along the river, through Keighley and Shipley.

A £69,300 grant has been awarded from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The support is welcomed by Keighley MP Robbie Moore.

He said: “It is great to see that local charities like the Aire Rivers Trust are being recognised for the work they do to promote the River Aire and their efforts to restore nature.

“It is important that we provide the right support to charities like this, which are promoting biodiversity and using our natural surroundings in the fight against climate change.

“This is a key part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan to kickstart nature recovery and tackle climate change so we can build back greener following coronavirus.”

The Aire Rivers Trust’s ‘Nature Connections’ project is one of the first environmental schemes to be awarded a grant from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The trust will lead 30 volunteer events designed to improve the River Aire and its catchment area.

Activities will include the creation of 500 square metres of wild meadow, the planting of 4,000 plug plants – seedlings which have been germinated and grown in trays of small cells before being transplanted – anti-flooding measures and the removal of invasive species present around the river corridors.

Geoff Roberts, for the Aire Rivers Trust, said: “This grant recognises and continues the great work that the trust has been doing to restore the catchment and to reconnect people with the river which is at the heart of our communities.

“We will now be able to take on a new staff member to work with partners and help make the River Aire great again.”

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

More than 60 projects have received grants in the first round of funding.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs.

“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”

For further information about the fund, visit