Monday 15 October 2012
The Chilterns Chalk Streams Project Officer, Allen Beechey, today met with double Olympic gold medal-winning rower James Cracknell and Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon to highlight the plight of the area’s chalk streams.
The MP and the Olympian were visiting the River Chess to raise awareness of the 'Love Your River' campaign. The campaign encourages people to value their local river and shows the relationship between water in a river and the water used in the home.
Both the Minister and James Cracknell, who is a 'Love Your River' ambassador, joined local schoolchildren in a riverfly survey of the Chess at Latimer. Allen explained what riverfly monitoring is about and how it is an important tool for local groups to monitor the quality of their rivers.
Hosted by the River Chess Association and Thames Water, the visit was an opportunity for the Minister to meet representatives from Chilterns' river groups and to hear about their work and concerns for their local rivers.
"The Chilterns Chalk Streams Project fully supports the 'Love Your River' campaign. It's all about local people taking action to improve the rivers where they live. Local groups in the Chilterns are a great example of what can be achieved; some of them have been caring for their rivers for over four decades."
In his conversation with the Minister, Allen emphasized the chronic problem of over-abstraction and high public demand for water in the area. These factors have been affecting most of the Chilterns rivers for decades. He impressed upon the MP the need for urgent action, such as compulsory water metering and a return to environmentally-sustainable abstraction levels, to reverse the decline of these globally rare rivers.
The 'Love Your River' campaign aims to get the public involved in improving the condition of the country's rivers. James Cracknell said:
"We’ve all got a role to play in making sure our rivers are as healthy as they can be and I'm pleased to be involved."