THE River Foss in York is clogged with rubbish, making it one of the filthiest rivers in the country, a nearby resident has claimed.

Rubbish including gas canisters, cans and bottles, polystyrene takeaway trays, and even rubbish bins and a beer keg have been spotted in the Foss river basin near Fishergate.

It accumulates each winter, leading to fears the river gives visitors a poor first impression of York.

Peter Mills has lived in Fishergate overlooking the river since 2006, but spends each summer boating and visits rivers and waterways all over the country.

He has become so fed up with rubbish in the Foss he is calling on City of York Council to carry out regular litter collections on the river.

He said: “If the council cleaned the rubbish up regularly, once a week, it wouldn’t get into this state.

“It’s disgusting for us as residents to have to look at it, but I think it’s bad for visitors who arrive in the city and use St George’s Field car park as well.

“Of everywhere we go on the waterways the Foss in York ranks, with Oxford, as the worst place for litter.”

Volunteers from the River Foss Society carry out river cleaning days for nine months of the year from April to December with the help of a City of York Council boat and staff, and although the volunteers often clear litter from the riverbanks through winter the boat cannot be used when river levels rise and temperatures fall in colder months.

Andy Binner, the council’s head of highways, said: “The council schedules maintenance works nine months of the year between April and December when river levels and temperatures are on average low enough for the boat to be able to operate.

"The council does carry out additional cleaning, if required, and following a recent routine inspection the team are scheduled to carry out a river boat clean next week.

“The council also work with voluntary community groups such as the River Foss Society in the summer months and provide the river cleaning boat and a member of staff free of charge to support cleaning the river.”