News Archive

01 August 2013

The Chalkstream Charter will be heavily featured in a R4 Face the Facts programme that goes out on July 29 at 12.25pm.  

Don’t forget to tune in!

For more info on The Chalkstream Charter:

http://www.chilternsaonb.org/uploads/files/CCSP/Chalkstream_Charter_web.pdf
10 July 2013

On Monday 1st July 2013 ARK's riverfly monitoring team identified a devastating pollution incident on the River Kennet. All the invertebrates for around 15km of river had been killed by the pesticide 'chlorpyrifos' which entered the river at the Sewage Treatment Works at Marlborough.

During the summer, invertebrates like the famous mayfly are abundant, and they are the key food source for fish and birds living along chalkstreams. 

The Environment Agency and Thames Water are working to identify how the pesticide got into the sewer network. ARK's volunteer riverfly monitors are monitoring ecological impacts of the pollution.

Current observations include dead crayfish and devastated and declining invertebrate populations, and large increases in algal growth on the river bed.

On Tuesday 9 July the Environment Agency and Public Health UK lifted their advice to avoid swimming, fishing and other recreational activities and confirmed that pesticide levels in the water have reduced. The Food Standards Agency advised that it is safe to eat fish from the River Kennet.

ARK's volunteer riverfly monitors carry out 'health checks' on over 40 sites on the Kennet each month. Their efficiency and swift action alerted river keepers and The Environment Agency to the problem.

The River Kennet is a Site of Scientific Interest and one of England's finest chalkstreams. This incident is one of the largest ever and has wiped out around a third of the river. 

 

View EA statement 5 July 2013

View EA statement 9 July 2013

View ARK press release 10 July 2013

09 July 2013
The first Mayfly in the Classroom projects began in June.  Over the summer ARK will be visiting primary schools explaining how wonderful chalkstreams are and encouraging students and their families to save water.
02 July 2013
Action for the River Kennet’s riverfly monitors discovered a serious pollution event on the Kennet yesterday during a routine invertebrate sampling exercise.
 
The regular survey of riverflies identified that most species had been killed by an unknown pollutant. The point of these surveys is to monitor the health of the river – invertebrates are very sensitive to pollution and are often the first indicators that there is a problem.
 
18 September 2012
ARK have won the prestigious UK Water Efficiency Awards ‘Best Community Led Project’ with their ‘Care for the Kennet’ campaign, which was run in partnership with Thames Water.
 
Campaigning to protect the long-term environmental health of this world-renown chalk stream, Care for the Kennet has helped educate 12,000 people in the Upper Kennet area about the link between their tap water and the river it comes from.

Click here to download the press release.
10 September 2012
At the start of the new term pupils at Aldbourne and Ramsbury schools are celebrating their water-saving success with a cheque for £750 each. The two schools jointly won the Care for the Kennet Water Saving Competition run by Action for the River Kennet and Thames Water.

Click here to download the press release.
05 July 2012
Action for the River Kennet's (ARK) Chairman Dr Geoffrey Findlay welcomed the
Parliamentary Environment Committee's Report on the Water White Paper published
today, 5 July 2012. He said "The Committee makes many of the points that ARK has
been pressing for, they clearly listened to our evidence when we visited Parliament earlier
this year. The report quotes our description of the Kennet as in "crisis" and uses an ARK
photograph of dead fish in on the Kennet's dry river bed. They argue for much more
urgency in reforming the abstraction regime in order to protect the environment, and like
us they call for the Government to introduce water metering much more vigorously"

Click here to download the press release.
20 February 2012
Action for the River Kennet (ARK) is working with the local community and
Thames Water to help everybody to use less water through the Care for the
Kennet campaign.
 
In the Kennet Valley we have had drastically low rainfall for the last 18
months, with less rain and a dryer river even than in 1976. Unless we have
two very wet months, a drought this summer is inevitable.

Click here to download the press release.
16 January 2012
Action for the River Kennet (ARK) hosted a visit to inspect the dry river bed at
Manton on Saturday morning (14 January). Claire Perry MP for Devizes was joined
by Charles Walker MP who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group,
and former Reading MP Martin Salter, who is now the campaigns director for
the Angling Trust. Action for the River Kennet was represented by Dr Geoffrey
Findlay, Martin Gibson, John Lawson and Charlotte Hitchmough. A group of
concerned local residents also joined the visit.

Click here to downoad the press release
14 September 2011
Residents in Aldbourne and Ramsbury were outraged to receive a letter from Thames Water
proposing to abstract yet more water, telling them that the Ramsbury borehole ‘currently
provides more water than is needed for the local area’. The letters arrived as the BBC prepares to
broadcast Panorama on Monday 19th September featuring the River Kennet entitled ‘Drinking our
Rivers Dry’, and in the same week that the River Kennet was named by campaign group ‘Our
Rivers’ as one of England’s top ten failing rivers.

Click here to download the press release.