2009 – October – The Future – starting this Saturday.

I held off sending details of this coming Saturday’s working party so that I could let you know how we got on at our meeting with the Environment Agency today at Hatfield.

On balance and all in all, I think the answer is “pretty well”.  There was plenty of energy and apparent goodwill around the table and a shared vision that “good” means  regular flow along the river through our communities.  We developed some clarity around the scope of the study that is needed before a decision can be made as to whether the EA will sanction the local bed repairs (“lining”) which the Chiltern Society propose.  Crucially, there was an agreement to pool data and information and not to revisit everything that had been determined previously.    There was also commitment to timescales of a) EA to reduce, refine and reissue their requirements within 3 weeks (i.e. by the end of the month), b) for Chiltern Society to submit study proposals during November (subject to availability of funds) and c) target completion of  the study by March 2010.  Perhaps  understandably, the EA could not commit to saying that the end of the study would automatically lead to agreement to the proposals: that’s the point of the study!

 Once again, it was apparent how important you are!  The fact that so many of you have registered your support and willingness (latent in many cases!) to help is a powerful negotiating point and not lost on our MP.     Furthermore, I’m not alone in suggesting that the continued stream we have nurtured this year through Chalfont St Giles to the fields will be gently easing silt into the cracks and generally sealing the bed for next season.  If  we receive similar recharge to last year between now and next Spring,  we will be effectively starting off 3 months ahead of where we were this year.

However, back to reality!  So far I have just 12 confirmed players for this Saturday.  No doubt some more will be there on the day but it really does help plan, decide what to tackle, what tools to mobilise , how many biscuits to buy, if you drop me a line beforehand.  Remember there is no need to sign away your whole day – an hour or so is always much appreciated.   Tasks for the day will include:

Chalfont St Peter: rendezvous point at Community Centre from 09.30 – “gentle jobs” as

  • Remove worst of the straw left behind by maintenance gangs;
  • Minor work to trees working from ground level only – Greyhound towards Scout Hut
  • Backstream clearance under drainpipe
  • Clear cans, bottles etc exposed by maintenance clearance Scout Hut to Tennis Court
  • Weeding by VW bridge on-going

Chalfont St Giles: rendezvous point by Pond from 09.30  –  good Wellingtons definitely required for;

  • Make channel through silt and compacted grit under Pheasant Hill Bridge.  Does anyone have some thin rope – 30m or more?  Does anyone have any drain rods?  Does anyone have a short range two-way radio?
  • Quick, routine easing of the channel from Pond to Field fence
  • Clearance of grass and weed alongside field fence
  • Removal of dead blanket weed in sheepfield if it appears to be impeding the little trickle which is bravely pushing onward.

AND, depending on numbers and our earlier contact with the farmer, we would also like to do some work at Bottom House Farm.

In November, I propose we have our workday on Sunday 15th (probably focused on the leat at Mill Lane) and I will book The Jolly Farmer Room at The Village Hall pub from 8.00 pm on Tuesday 3rd November for our usual beer and chat session.

Probably none of us want a working party in December but it might be nice to have a Christmas Drink on say Thursday December 10th evening.


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