2013 – August Affairs

Following a “butterfingers” moment, I have been without my computer (and thus the MRA distribution list) for a couple of weeks.  Now we are back up and running again, I hope it is not too late to remind you that we have a work party this Sunday, 1st September.    If you can join us, even for an hour or so, you will be very, very welcome.  Please let me know by Friday evening and I will send details of what, where and who during Saturday.  Thanks to those who have already “signed up”

Just in case, I’ll also take this opportunity to note the next “not-a-meeting” – drink and a chat – will be on Tuesday 08 October and work party on Saturday 12 October.  And, of course, we’ll be at Chalfont Giles Show on 07 September.  By the way, it is such a shame that the super little bridge at Chalfont St Giles has become a source of vexation.  I know I am far from alone in thinking it is a great addition and hope that this year it can be allowed to quietly remain in place after The Show.  We are very appreciative of the £200 received from the Show Charitable Fund and £100 from CStG Revitalisation Committee which has enabled purchase of some new equipment.

You will possibly have seen the excellent articles relevant to the river in The Advertiser of 15 August.  The first reported on Affinity Water’s plans to reduce abstraction by 73 Ml/d across its regions.   The second, noting the recent award won by the Chiltern Conservation Board, paid due tribute to Allen Beechey’s contribution ending: – “it is his drive and enthusiasm that really makes a difference” – to which I would add three cheers and a comment regarding his amazing knowledge.  Not reported is the additional detail that the reductions include at least 5Ml/d (notionally 5.5 or between 33 and 40%) from the Misbourne catchment and, crucially that these numbers are agreed with the Environment Agency.  Subject to final review, they now go forward to Offwat for approval for the next funding period (2015 – 2020).  With EA endorsement and in view of the relatively strong public support in the recent Affinity Water public consultation, it is to be hoped that these relatively cheap measures have a good chance of becoming reality.  (Affinity Water tell me they had something like three times the normal response to their consultation.  No doubt, this is thanks in part to your contribution following requests in earlier MRA circulars).

So that is very good news.  Better still is that additional funding in the same period may yet be ear-marked for some further measures selected from the Options Appraisal Report mentioned here earlier this year.  We have spent many hours reviewing the Report and reconsidering in the light of the more recent news regarding possible abstraction figures and indication of potentially viable costs.  Our response is almost agreed and should be on the website over the weekend.  in essence, we are recommending prioritising reductions at Amersham and Chalfont St Giles and seeking retention of the full capacity of these stations for use in river augmentation during low flow.  Other elements on our shopping list include limited bed-lining trials and a small augmentation borehole a little way upstream of Chalfont St Peter.

This has been a good summer for the Misbourne, and I hope for you too!  On the back of helpful weather patterns over the past twelve months and the improvements wrought by work parties to date some flow has continued the full length; the back stream spring at CStP has only dried in the last week.  Undoubtedly, the raised awareness created by our efforts has also opened some doors and provided hope for the longer term.  Your continuing support is essential and much appreciated.


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