2022 – November News

2022 – November News

There wasn’t a lot of point in writing during the summer. It may have been good for holidays but not at all for the river, which showed briefly in Chalfont St Peter in June but subsequently receded again, initially at least part due to weed-choking of the watercourse. Chalfont St Giles fared much better with continuous flow since March 2020 only disappearing in August.
It was interesting to note that, despite the exceptional summer – (lowest 6 monthly rainfall in our 30 year records) – groundwater levels remained close to average for the time of year and it appeared unlikely the river would dry up much above Misbourne Farm, unlike, say 2018, when there was nothing through Amersham. I have a little wonder if that improvement might just be a reflection of the reductions in abstraction achieved in recent years. It would be good to see Affinity Water’s elusive figures for flows below Amersham over the summer as it has been an ideal time to consider the effect of the new wetland area.

I’ve been “off grid” for a couple of months but now getting back to things. Meanwhile, much has been happening politically. The groundswell of concern for chalk streams which has grown over the last 30 years reached Parliament in the form of the The Chalk Streams (Protection) Bill introduced by our MP, Sarah Green, who has been working hard on this issue since her election. The Bill itself is welcome – its second reading may be expected next year – but of greater direct impact is the response to this pressure now being shown by the water industry. Thames, Wessex Water, Southern Water and our own Affinity Water are all responding with Affinity claiming to have ceased abstraction affecting the Chess and promising further improvements to the Misbourne.

A conference in St Albans in September celebrated 25 years of the Chiltern Chalk Streams Project (CCSP). Albeit that it was a celebratory event, I was particularly struck by the friendly cooperation between the water companies and the environmental groups compared with my perception of past mutual suspicion. It was also good to note the increased resources of the CCSP. (Links to some of the material will be added to our website)

It was good to have a stall again at Chalfont St Peter’s Feast Day and sign up a good number of new supporters. From our start in 2008, Misbourne River Action, with its 400+ supporters, informative website, productive work-parties and sociable style, has plenty to toast but similar groups such as The Ver Society and Save the Chess have earned a higher profile and gained greater “clout”. To move up a gear and secure increased attention to, and investment in, the Misbourne, ‘without throwing the baby out with the bathwater’, we perhaps need to think hard about future organisation including a) a more devolved leadership and committee structure b) relationship with Chiltern Society c) funds – including possibly a small annual subscription. Notional targets might include on-going improvements in water quality, complete elimination of abstraction, greater pressure on landowners to maintain the watercourse through their land, environmentally friendly lining of leaky leats and the loosing “perched” reaches between the Chalfonts and the extension of the Chilterns Area of National Beauty through to Chalfont St Peter – dare I even suggest some pumped recharge?? A big agenda indeed, but it will be interesting to see where it might get to in the next 25 years. If you have thoughts on any of this and/or would like to be more involved in upping our game, do please let us know and the conversation can begin.

At present, winter recharge is underway and there is already flow from Deep Mill Pond as far as Misbourne Farm. Work parties to clear the old mill leat from Misbourne Farm (Gorilla) to the ford at Mill Lane and then from the ford through to Chalfont St Giles would give a good start to 2023. My involvement may be limited but I’m happy to coordinate and provide resources. Who could be available for morning and afternoon shifts on any or all of Saturday 26th November, Thursday 1st December and Saturday 10th December??……… or, if keen for another day, let me know and/or float it on our WattsApp group. By the way, if you would like to join the WattsApp group, please say and let me have your mobile number.

To recover momentum a little after this strange year, we will have a “not a meeting” – i.e. an informal chat over a drink or two at The Greyhound at 7.15p.m.on Wednesday 23rd November. Everyone and all ideas welcome.

We have always enjoyed an annual MRA Christmas Dinner and it will be lovely to see the usual faces and lots of new ones on Wednesday 14th December. Please let me know as soon as possible if you can join us for this fun event.

220901 30 Years Chalfont Rainfall.jpg

220901 Absolute September GWL's.jpeg
as always, looking forward to seeing you in or by the river soon


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