Cleaner Thames brings London wildlife groups together to celebrate World Rivers Day at TideFest

The prospect of an ever cleaner river Thames in the heart of London has brought wildlife and conservation groups together to organise a brand new event to celebrate World Rivers Day.

TideFest is a new river Thames event taking place on September 28 to highlight and celebrate the recreational importance of the Thames Tideway to Londoners. TideFest is part of the Totally Thames festival and is supported by the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and the Thames Tunnel Now Coalition which includes RSPB, London Wildlife Trust, Thames 21, WWF, River Thames Society and the Angling Trust.

A host of activities will be taking place along the Thames Tideway at Kew, Chiswick, Isleworth and In Wandsworth including paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, angling, foreshore exploration, river dipping, wildlife spotting and a heritage walk.

World Rivers Day began in Canada 30 years ago but became officially recognised as a global event by the United Nations in 2005 as part of their ‘Water for Life’ decade. It takes place every year on the last Saturday in September and involves thousands of people across the planet in projects as diverse as identifying illegal dumping sites in Russia, holding community awareness programmes in West Africa, organising community clean ups in Poland and highlighting the need for better sewage treatment for the River Ganges in India.

Last year saw major improvements at Mogden Sewage Treatment Works as part of a wider £5.4bn plan to clean up the river including the £635m Lee Tunnel, which is currently under construction, and the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Debbie Leach, Chief Executive for Thames21 said: ”As the River Thames becomes cleaner, its value for recreation and the community as well as for wildlife will increase greatly. We are delighted to be part of TideFest and welcome all Londoners to be part of this exciting and family-friendly event”.

Peter Finch, Chairman for the River Thames Society said: “The River Thames Society strongly supports initiatives to clean up the tidal river and to maximise the recreational potential of this wonderful resource. We are hoping that TideFest will grow to become an annual celebration of what London’s river has to offer everyone who likes to sail, paddle, fish, walk or who just enjoy messing about on the water.”

Rebecca Watts, Programme Manager for the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme said: “The Living Wandle Programme aims to reconnect local people with their river Wandle. It’s great that we can be part of the wider Thames picture by becoming part of TideFest and show London how much there is to enjoy right on the doorstep.”

A full programme of TideFest events on September 28 can be seen here: tidefest_final_programme2014. There will be a number of prize givings and photo opportunities on the day.