Bewdley rowers have dubbed piles of debris at the town's bridge a 'health and safety nightmare' after a long running campaign to remove the blockages has fallen on deaf ears.

Competitors and enthusiasts from Bewdley Rowing Club say they can no longer use the waterways by Bewdley bridge as the issue has become so out of control it poses a threat to rowers' lives.

Recent high water levels in the Severn have exacerbated the problem, with minor flooding over the Christmas period dragging more debris into the river.

However, rowers say this is something they have been fruitlessly reporting since September, and have even taken to contacting Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier in the hope of clearing the obstructions.

In fact, rowers say the debris has been there so long vegetation has started to grow through the two piles of rubbish.

Rich Jackson, club captain of Bewdley Rowing Club, said: "As club captain it's hugely frustrating because we've had to stop our juniors and novice rowers from rowing at Bewdley as it just isn't safe to be out on the water. 

"We're pretty much blocked off from using the whole section of the river at the minute, it has been like that for months now and to be honest with you no one seems to be interested in doing an awful lot about it.

"It was initially just one big branch when we first started reporting it in September sort of time, but since then it has just grown and grown.

"Our biggest worry is it will get to a point when the whole archways are just completely blocked altogether.

"It's a health and safety nightmare - even if one of our experienced rowers tried to go past it and got it wrong they could realistically be dead.

"I know we're just a rowing club who want to use the river so maybe we aren't priority, but it looks terrible for the town as well.

"The whole place is trying to recover from being hit by Covid and there's a big blockage of debris right by the bridge, it's an absolute eye sore.

"We've spoken with the Environment Agency who basically told us it wasn't on their list of priorities and they would get round to it when they could, but at this point who knows when that'll be.

"Some of us have tried to go down there and move it ourselves but it is just too dangerous."

In the meantime, Mr Jackson says members of the club have had to pack up their kit and drive to the rowing club at Stourport instead.

Last week, a spokesperson for Worcestershire County Council said: "We're monitoring the situation with debris in rivers and watercourses against our bridges, particularly at Worcester, Powick and Bewdley.

"We're discussing with our partners at the Environment Agency and Canal and River Trust with a view to removing this as soon as possible."

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “While we have powers to undertake work if it reduces flood risk, which our field teams are doing across Worcestershire and the West Midlands over the next few weeks after recent weather created blockages on other water courses, maintenance of this structure is the responsibility of Worcestershire County Council.”