Engaging with Government and Industry
Working out who is in control...we still don't know!
We were wrong to think our Government and the Environment Agency were looking after our environment. People deserve better. Much better.
Members of the local community have tried to stop this destruction and have been ignored for years. Now the evidence is so stark that it cannot be denied. However NOTHING WILL HAPPEN unless the wider public know how they are being treated with such contempt.
We are in dialogue with our MP Robert Courts: he has previously taken our case to the then Environment Minister Michael Gove.
After not getting much sense from the Environment Agency (which seems to be struggling to stop the destruction of our environment), we now have what we hope will be a more constructive point of contact and engagement.
We will keep you posted of any progress or lack of progress.
We are in contact with the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Environment Agency, and the Health and Safety Executive. The HSE take responsibility for managing the impact of the chemicals that enter our rivers via our sinks, showers and toilets. Our correspondence reveals a terribly lax approach: 'light touch' regulation that has so spectacularly failed in the banking industry and the control of plastic waste and air quality.
These are the agencies who have been in charge whilst the health of our rivers has declined to the point where 80% of English and Welsh rivers failed to achieve even 'good' ecological status in 2016 under the EU guidelines. The decline is being managed so that each new generation accepts the falling standards as the norm.
We continue to develop a constructive relationship with the operational staff at Thames Water and the directors of the smaller but relevant Albion Water company who have a site at Upper Rissington. They are all helping us understand the processes, challenges and providing factual information from company records. We understand that if they only have to achieve low standards that is the best we can hope they will do.
Our blog features key letters in our search for facts. The latest reply from Thames Water suggests that up to now the health of our rivers and the safety of the users has not justified spending more money on protecting either. Not just Thames Water's decision - our government's too! We are challenging that.
We are also trying hard to engage with the manufacturers of some of the more worrying chemical products which are allowed to be sold as laundry and dishwashing products. One of them carries a warning: “Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects”. How can that be a good idea? It's the 21st century, not the 1800s!
The picture above was taken by a local father of his children and their friends swimming in the River Windrush at Asthall in 1996. This an iconic scene of family holidays in the country. It should not be something destined for history books. A clean and safe environment should be an absolute right - not a privilege for the those who have access to the two in ten rivers that are still hanging on to good ecological status.
We don't want to be told, as we have been, by Thames Water and the Environment Agency that this river is not safe for bathing!
What can I do??
1) Keep yourself updated - follow this site and links to
2) Volunteer - you can let us know if you have skills to share,
or time to offer.
3) Keep us informed - if you notice anything amiss or unusual
about the river, let us know.
4) Keep others informed - share your concerns and links to us
with friends and local media.
5) Donate - we need instruments to gather data to back up our
concerns. We appreciate donations to fund our
research. If you don't use PayPal, contact us.