2009 – October News

Another month gone by and, as usual, some ups and downs in the river’s affairs,

We were delighted with the achievements of last month’s working party.  Having persevered for several years to secure the necessary approvals, Sandy was very happy to witness the removal of the redundant fence by the Ellwood House site.  This has made a significant difference to the area around and downstream of  the Vic Wotton bridge, building on the continuing efforts of Ray, Dave and co. We were also really pleased to welcome new members Karen and Keith who double-handedly neatly and rapidly despatched fallen trees from the backstream.      With further heaps of fools watercress and debris removed from upstream, the long suffering scout’s trailer worked hard that day and the six loads over the weighbridge at the tip totalled over 1500 kg.

Again the turnout at Chalfont St Giles was rather less but nevertheless important in optimising the available flow. .  It is good to see that the stream is continuing so well for the time of year –  all the way into the field beyond the village.

It is very disappointing to note that three months after The Chiltern Society’s encouraging meeting with MP Cheyl Gillan and senior officers of the EA,  we are still awaiting detailed specification to enable commencement of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the lining trials at London Road Depot and upstream of Chalfont Mill.  There is another meeting on 12 October after which we really do hope to be able to start moving forward.

On the positive side , we have had good and supportive contacts with Veolia (previously Three Valleys Water), who own land by the Chalfont Mill Leat.  We also had a very productive site visit to the Thames Water Amersham Balancing Tanks site at the London Road Depot.   This was my first sight of this stretch of river that is targeted for lining and so very helpful in appreciating the issues of access, temporary diversion etc.   It was also good to see this facility in good order and its control much improved since the issues that arose some years back

EA contractors have strimmed their way through CStP in preparation for winter storms.   Opinions differ within both the EA itself and MRA regarding their method and the result from an environmental standpoint  but it certainly removes an on-going chore from our next working day – Saturday 17th October.   We have quite a list of jobs in mind – ranging from possible excursion to Bottom House Farm to clear the clogged watercourse; attempting to clear silt and grit from under Pheasant Hill bridge, tree maintenance at CStP, and a variety of specific minor tasks.  I have booked the Jolly Farmer Room at the Village Hall pub on Goldhill Common for this coming Thursday 8th October from 8.00 pm when we can enjoy a drink while we plan some detail around these jobs, maybe welcome some new faces and  review progress with the lining project.

We continue to receive a steady trickle of new contacts signing up (now approx. 130) and many supportive comments.  Yesterday several of us attended the Chiltern Society’s River & Wetlands Group’s AGM.  I was impressed and humbled by the range and professionalism of activities undertaken by peer groups such as The Ver Valley Association, Impress The Chess, Revive The Wye and others.  I am still struggling to find time to really get to grips with our website.  Is there anyone with time and expertise to take this to another level?  Would someone like to develop a “nature watch” element to our activities?  Would someone like to take on creating and managing a “telephone tree” for the several members we are loosing because I only have time for communication by e-mail? Any other bright ideas?

So, hoping to see you on 8th and/or 17th – please let me know if you expect to be able to help on the 17th,


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