Thames Water pledges half a million pounds to restore and improve River Wandle

Dec 11, 2007

Thames Water has announced, in conjunction with the Wandle Trust, a £500,000 plan to revive and revitalise the River Wandle in South West London over the next 5 years.

The first stages of the river's rehabilitation begin with the release of an independent study on the current ecological state of the river following the pollution incident on September 17, and the Environment Agency's planned reintroduction of 5,000 young fish back into the river. This will be the first step in a sustained restocking programme for the Wandle.

Thames Water’s CEO, David Owens said:
“Thames Water was quick to acknowledge that we caused this incident and we are acting quickly to not only restore, but improve the health of this important river. We have been working particularly closely with the Anglers’ Conservation Association, as well as other local groups to ensure that the programme being put into action now yields real and lasting results.

“It will provide the resources to support the ongoing stewardship of the river and create a fund which can be used to restore and improve the health of its habitats.”

The investment will have two main components of £250,000 each:
  • Rejuvenation of the river: including restoring the river to health, helping local angling clubs back on their feet and appointing a full time development officer for the river through the Wandle Trust.
  • Improving for the future: including creating a restoration fund used to improve the amenity and health of the river. A steering group comprising representatives of environmental and recreational bodies associated with the Wandle* will oversee management of the fund.
Additionally, Thames Water has committed to regularly reporting the operational performance of the Beddington sewage works to local people through the Wandle Trust. The sewage works will also receive significant improvements, including cutting edge water quality monitoring apparatus able to provide real-time analysis of the water quality within and leaving the works.

This technology will also be incorporated into Thames Water’s hundreds of other wastewater treatment facilities to help minimise ecological risks. These upgrades will form part of the investment Thames Water is making in the coming year of around £1bn to improve water and wastewater assets and build new infrastructure across London and the Thames Valley.

David Owens said:
“We would like to thank the ACA for facilitating rapid and productive discussion with the Wandle Trust, the Environment Agency, the National Trust and the local community, which have enabled us jointly to begin what we will know will inevitably be a long process of rehabilitation".

The Wandle Trust is an ecological charity committed to cleaning up the River Wandle in particular, and improving the Wandle Valley as a whole. For more information, visit http://www.wandletrust.org. The River Wandle: pollution incident Baseline Ecological Survey has been produced by APEM Aquatic Scientists. It aims to establish the extent of the impact zone of the pollution incident.

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