RTCT January 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to our fourteenth RTCT newsletter. We always love to update people on what is happening around the catchment, and what better way to fill people in than with a monthly newsletter. We hope that you enjoy reading and welcome any suggestions for next month, just send them to Natalie@riverthame.org 


What a whirlwind of a year 2017 was for the trust. We’ve come a long way since the River Thame Conservation Trust was first established in 2012. The devastating pollution incident from Aylesbury Sewage Treatment Works in 2013/ 2014 led to the Save the River Thame campaign (which merged with RTCT) and a strong focus on water quality improvement has remained a vital part of our work ever since.

Our mission is to work closely with Thames Water to do whatever we can to reduce water pollution and to work on the ground to ensure the river will be more resilient if such a major incident was to ever happen again.

Last year Thames Water faced a £20.3million fine through the courts as a result of the 1.4bn litres of untreated sewage that leaked into our freshwaters (including the Thame) in 2013/14. That money went to the Treasury but Thames Water also set up an Environment Fund of £1.5 million for areas affected by the pollution.  Due to the River Thame being heavily affected by the incident, the Trust has received substantial funding through the Environment Fund. This will not only keep the trust running for the next 3 years, but will also allow us to protect and enhance the River Thame Catchment further with a programme of work over the coming years. We look forward to working with all our volunteers and partners 2018 will be a very exciting time for the trust. Watch this space!

See RTCT on BBC news here talking about the pollution incident at Aylesbury sewage treatment works

Lapwing at Wheatley Bridge. Photo by Pascale Nicolet

Calling all Water Quality Surveyors

All Phosphate kits sent in 2017 will be out of date as of the end of February and all Nitrate kits sent out in 2017 will be out of date as of the end of March.

All surveyors will be sent new kits in mid February but if you need any urgently please email Natalie@riverthame.org


Plastic Pollution

Plastic really is the buzz word at the moment, but sometimes it can be hard to relate to these international issues as their effects are usually seen thousands of miles away.

Last year in Aylesbury we carried out a litter pick on the Bear Brook, where the majority of waste we found was plastic carrier bags and drinks bottles making it clear that plastic is not just a problem for marine life. In fact 80% of Marine Plastic is sourced from land and rivers are a key pathway.

There has been a huge clamp down on plastic pollution from the ban of micro beads, to pushing the carrier bag charge out to all carrier bags and not to mention the free water refill stations that will be available in every major town and City from 2021!

We are excited to see how these changes can benefit the River Thame but to do your bit look out for litter picks later in the year!


Waddesdon wetland creation

We are very excited to announce that we have initial go ahead on the first new wetland creation in the River Thame Catchment in living memory (as far as we know)! River Thame Conservation Trust are working closely with kind co-operation of the landowners, the Waddesdon Estate, and with other key partners – Freshwater Habitats Trust and the Environment Agency. Our plan is to create a mosaic of wetland habitats on the floodplain of the River Thame, downstream of Eythrope, on the Waddesdon Estate.

The wetland will be designed with species diversity in mind and will be a haven for all freshwater species from plants and invertebrates to birds and fish. The wetland will be made up of a series of pools at varying depths, with the inclusion of fish refuges as well as possible restoration work on the main river channel.

It is early days yet as the scheme is currently at the investigative phase and it is a project that will take a few years to properly plan and develop. We will be sure to keep you posted as the project progresses.

Here are some similar schemes in the wider Thames catchment