Countryfile live!

August 11, 2019

Here are some highlights in case you have missed them.

Checking out the invertebtrates from the Blenheim lake.

 

BBC Countryfile Live was at Blenheim again - and thanks to the Berks Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust we had a great pitch by the lake in the Wildlife Zone.

 

The great thing about this event is that it attracts people to the stand who have very interesting messages or who want to get involved. The contacts we made on day one justified the considerable effort that goes into putting WASP at this event - and it just got better each day.

 

Countryfile's Tom Heap came along to talk about the campaign. He presented the untreated sewage revelations in 2018 and was interested in what has happened since then.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, (left) Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, came along with Cllr Suzanne Bartington who works on air pollution and is also taking an interest in water - naturally.

Whilst all that was going on The Times published an article we had been contributing to over recent weeks - and what an article it was!  Front page and a double page spread inside with a quote from WASP.

A  few weeks ago we were on BBC South Today raising concerns about the extreme turbidity (murkiness) of the Windrush. The response from the Environment Agency press office left a lot to be desired, so we have challenged it with a letter to Sir James Bevan who is in charge of the EA. The letter will also be posted on this blog and so will the reply.

 

We have met with local EA staff since then and the vibe we got from that group was much more positive and constructive although there is a long way to go, and we need to see what actually happens.

 

The BBC were given a copy and they filmed the follow up where two independent experts gave their views.

 

Below you have Dr Andrew Singer, Senior Scientist at the Cenntre for Ecology and Hydrology. He is talking to BBC presenter, Katharine DaCosta.

 

Then we had Ian Leahy from Palintest - a company that tests for bacteria including those from human faecal contamination. This is the water quality WASP is interested in as we start to think about how to get the river not only protected from pollution but also safe to 'bathe' in: like the way that beaches are given bathing status. Big subject - and more to come soon. We are already talking to our councils about the idea.

 

According to the EA statement to the BBC:  ''Water quality in our rivers has improved significanly since the 1980s''...  

 

We will have a close look at that statement - and some of you who have written about how clear the river used to be will have a view on it. 

To round up this update, we also met MP Robert Courts at the same place to explain to him some of the testing we are doing and to talk about the Blue Flag idea mentioned by Dr Singer to the BBC. 

 

YouTube: click here to see our videos.

 

The days when people can enjoy splashing around in a river without worrying what is being dumped in it have to be brought back. So far they have been prevented from worrying by keeping them in the dark. That has to change if we are to hand over a decent clean Windrush (and so many other rivers ) to the next generation.

 

Keep following, please and spread the word. It is about to get very interesting.

 

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