Londoners urged to take back their rivers during London Rivers Week 2018

‘Massively increased opportunities’ for Londoners to explore and protect their rivers through collecting key data and joining clean up events

Saturday 23 JUNE – Sunday 1 JULY

London, UK – 12 June 2018: 

Londoners concerned about plastic and other impacts on our rivers are being offered unprecedented opportunities to take action by environmental groups.

Londoners who value their rivers and want to find out more about the secrets of the 600km network across the capital can connect with them in more ways than ever before, say London Rivers Week organisers.

The week, now in its third year, has the theme of ‘Valuing Water’ and will showcase some of these new ways the public can get involved, including through plastic litter picks, collecting plastic data, monitoring eels and dragonflies, and by test driving prototype pollution-testing lab boats.

London Rivers Week will raise awareness about the wellbeing, social and economic benefits coming from our rivers and all the water they supply for drinking, industry and agriculture. 

“Eighty per cent of London’s drinking water comes from the river Thames and the Lea,” said Debbie Leach, Chief Executive of Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity which is co-ordinating the week. “We depend on our rivers for our water supply! We encourage Londoners to think about small changes they can make to value and conserve the water they use every day.”

Technology normally reserved for experts and scientific data collection are being entrusted to individuals and communities through new river-based citizen science projects. “Communities and individuals are already producing key data about the impact of plastic on the Thames, and there are many other new ways they can show they value our rivers and water by helping to track pollution and protect species,” said Leach.

Otters, trout, bats, kingfishers and eels all use London rivers – but they need help from the public to survive and thrive, in the face of plastic pollution, sewage and the impacts of climate change.

‘‘Now is the time for Londoners to reclaim their rivers and see how they’re doing,” said Leach. “As the saying goes, unless you value something you cannot save it – and our rivers do need saving. So Londoners, show your love for London’s rivers by exploring them this London Rivers Week. ”

Highlights of London Rivers Week include:

Launch event: Citizen Science showcase including prototype pollution-busting lab boats; Ladywell Fields, Lewisham, Sunday 24 June 12pm-3pm.

Plastic clean-up on precious chalk stream, Kingston, Tuesday 26 June, 11am to 2pm.

Kayaking and canoeing on the west London Frays River, Fassnidge Park, Hillingdon a family friendly event on Thursday 28 June 5.30pm-8pm.

Blue Heart, film premiere screening, Farlows, Pall Mall, Westminster, Thursday 28 June 5.30pm-8pm.

Get up close to the fish of the River Thames, Kew, Saturday 30 June, 1pm-1.45pm.

Sponsorship for Rivers Week has been provided by Thames Water. Richard Aylard, Thames Water’s External Affairs Director said: “Water is at the heart of the vital service we provide to customers across London, so we’re passionate about rivers and all they have to offer. We hope people will get behind London Rivers Week and make the most of the chance to try a new activity or simply relax and enjoy the waterways.”

A full list of events can be found here: www.thames21/londonriversweek 


Notes for editors

Media Contact and London Rivers Week Coordinator:

Kirsten Downer – Campaigns and communications Officer at Thames21 020 7248 7171 or 07711 701 696

  • Images available on request
  • Interviews available with: Debbie Leach, Chief Executive at Thames21 and David Webb of the Environment Agency

River restoration

More than 20km of river has been restored in London. London Rivers Week showcases some of these newly restored natural spaces through a Secret Wild Spaces guide and map.

London Rivers Week is organised for the Catchment Partnerships in London Group (CiPL) by its London Rivers Restoration Group arm. The Catchment Partnerships in London Group brings together Partnerships set up on rivers throughout the capital to enable shared action to protect, enhance and deliver cleaner, more vibrant and accessible rivers for all.

Organisations participating in CPiL include: the Environment Agency, Greater London Authority, Groundwork, London Wildlife Trust, NW Kent Countryside Partnership, The Rivers Trust, South East Rivers Trust, Thames21, Thames Chase, Thames Estuary Partnership, Thames Landscape Strategy, Thames Strategy Kew to Chelsea, The Wandle Trust, ZSL.