Welcome to the
Thames Rivers Trust
The Thames Rivers Trust is a registered environmental charity dedicated to improving the River Thames and its tributaries for the benefit of people, wildlife and the environment. We work with a wide range of partners including government agencies, private companies, NGO’s and local community groups with the aim of delivering an integrated approach to the management of the Thames and the surrounding land.
Originally The Thames Salmon Trust (TST) we were formed in 1986 to raise money for the construction of fish passes on the main River Thames and the River Kennet, as part of the programme to re-introduce Atlantic salmon to the river. TST was highly successful raising many millions from partners, including the National Lottery and by the year 2000 an amazing 20 fish passes had been installed on the Thames and 17 on the Kennet aiding fish passage.
In 2004 the future of TST was reviewed; the chain of fish passes had been completed and some significant funds remained. It was agreed with the remaining Trustees to widen the objectives of the Trust for broader conservation purposes and the benefit of all wildlife on the Thames (as well as the public benefit). With the consent of the Charity Commissioners the Thames Salmon Trust became the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust in 2004, shortened to the Thames Rivers Trust (TRT) in 2012. Click here to find out about past projects.
Thames Water launch their Water Resources Management Plan Consultation
Thames Rivers Trust (TRT) has been represented on the TW Water Resources Forum, for both the general and technical sessions for the past 4 years. We have had ample opportunity to comment regularly on the development of the draft WRMP and the longer term plan. We will therefore not be commenting on the plan in detail.
Overall TW is to be congratulated on adopting a detailed approach to the development of its strategy utilising best practice, advanced modelling techniques, independent expertise and comprehensive stakeholder dialogue. This reflects the complex status of the Thames river basin facing unprecedented demand in the future with limited resource options.
It is therefore all the more surprising, and disappointing, that having brought along a disparate group of stakeholders to follow, and generally support, a logical development of the resources strategy, the company has made a very late in the day, apparently at Board level decision, to delay the development of a major strategic resource i.e. Abingdon Reservoir, a further decade into the future..
In its place the company has introduced some high risk demand management measures involving challenging targets for leakage and meter penetration and incentive based efficiency targets. Whilst Thames should be congratulated on adopting ambitious demand management targets there is a high risk in dependence on customer behaviour and the company does not have a successful track record in this field. Furthermore there was very little discussion on the positioning of these options in the general and technical workshops where Thames might have benefitted from stakeholder expertise.
The main problem with these high risk features is that there are no contingency plans should they fail. This means that any shortfall in the reduction in water use expected is likely to have a deleterious effect on the environment.
The delayed appearance of the proposed Abingdon Reservoir will also mean the continuation of informal planning blight for unfortunate residents, reduced ability to help regulate the main river, lack of upstream storage in the face of increased winter flooding, and reduced capability in easing the pressure on over-abstracted chalk streams. It was only last November at the Annual Stakeholder Review meeting that TW CEO Stuart Robertson told the audience that it was his passionate wish to cease abstraction from such rivers as soon as possible.
The other major concern is that of the Teddington Direct River Abstraction scheme. There appear to be several unresolved environmental issues and it seems to us that the future of this key project cannot be guaranteed.
Having been involved in the water resources strategy from the beginning of the process it is unfortunate to end on a critical note. It seems to us that Thames has admirably followed its own rigorous procedures all the way through, only to diverge at the very end. The WRMP and its longer term version are meant to be for the benefit of the customer and the environment, rather than succumbing to short term political pressures.
To view the full Thames Water WRMP click here. To give feedback to the public consultation, which closes 29th April 2018 click here.
TRT awards £12k to two new projects
“Our Thames Restoration Fund is helping deliver a total of nine projects, two of which are now complete. Although very different all projects are delivering improvements to our rivers.”, said TRT Chairman Chris Poupard. To find out about each project, including these two newly funded projects click here.
Consultation now closed
Help us challenge proposed increases in charges for EA permits
Thames Rivers Trust is concerned that the Environment Agency is proposing to increase charges for permits. The EA has published a consultation (open until the 26th January 2018) which proposes increases to the charges for permits to carry out habitat improvement work of the type rivers trusts, wildlife trusts and angling clubs have been doing for years; delivering public and environmental benefit improving habitats, biodiversity, reducing flood risk, removing obstacles to fish migration, often with significant recreational benefits.
Much of the practical work to implement WFD objectives is now carried out by the third sector in partnership with the EA, local authorities and riparian owners.
The proposed increase costs are prohibitive for small scale Rivers Trust’s type projects. We are deeply concerned that the proposed EPR charges will impose a disproportionate burden on smaller third sector delivery groups.
This could severely damage the ability of Rivers Trusts and others to carry out work on projects to improve river habitats for wildlife and people. It’s quite a daunting document, however there are only one or two sections that are directly relevant. We have drafted a response with some key points you may wish to use click here. Just copy and paste it into ‘section 8.1’. You will also need to fill out sections 8.3 and 8.4.
Robert Oates, our Deputy Chairman represented the River Thames at the Cauca River Restoration Forum in Cali, Colombia in August. He found Cali to be a beautiful and safe city in a very friendly country. But like many cities around the world, Cali has grown fast and development has run ahead of environmental protection, with negative impacts on the river and water supplies. The regional government is now determined to rectify the situation and invited three experts from Europe to help develop solutions. One key outcome of the Forum was the main stakeholder organisations agreeing to form a ‘Cauca River Basin Technical Committee’ to plan, fund and deliver restoration projects.
Thames Region Success with DEFRA Natural Flood Management Bids
An excellent result for the Thames region with DEFRA announcing the successful bids to millions of pounds of funding for Natural Flood Management (NFM) whilst at the SuDS in Sutton Schools project. Well done to all the Rivers Trusts who will now be enabled to deliver a range of NFM schemes within the catchment.
Thames has the most projects (12) in the £1.6m ‘Community Scheme’ with South East Rivers Trust’s SuDS in Sutton School being one of them. TRT seed funded SERT for this multi-benefit project with £25k through our Thames Restoration Fund.
Thames has three projects funded from the £14m ‘Catchment Scale NFM Programme’ which has also been announced. The Evenlode NFM Demonstration Catchment (seed funded £25k by our Thames Restoration Fund grant to Cotswolds Rivers Trust) is reconnecting the River Evenlode to the floodplain.
DEFRA Floods Minister Therese Coffey and EA Chair Emma Howard Boyd for the announcement of the 34 winners of £1.6m for community scale NFM projects visited SERT’s SSS; which aims to reduce flood risk to approximately 100 properties in Hackbridge as well as inspire and educate many school children. To download a summary of SuDS in Sutton Schools click SERT SuDS in Sutton School Brief July 2017 . For more details on NFM and this funding visit our NFM page.
Pictured: Floods Minister Terese Coffey visiting the SiSS project with Chair of the EA Emma Howard Boyd and SERT Director Bella Davies.