Media releases



Press Release
For Immediate Release

New Angling Development Programme for London
Appointment of London Development Manager to boost sustainable angling in local communities

A joint initiative by the Environment Agency, Angling Trust and Thames21 aims to boost angling opportunities and the number of anglers in the capital with the appointment of a new angling development manager for London.

Grant Fear has a strong background in coordinating angling-related projects inLondonand is well-placed to work with communities across the capital to encourage people to fish their local waters.

There are a large number of excellent angling waters in London, many of which have been cleaned up by the environmental charity Thames21 over the past decade.  As well as the River Thames, there is a network of rivers, canals, reservoirs and ponds throughout the capital, but information about where to fish can be hard to come by for young people.

London Angling Development Manager Grant Fear said: ‘London is a fantastic place for angling, and many of our best fishing spots are under-utilised. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to make the sport more accessible for Londoners and to help ensure its sustainability into the future.’

Angling is an excellent activity for young or disaffected people as it encourages concentration, understanding of, and respect for, the natural world and builds a range of skills.  It has been shown to have a transformational effect on many young people who have got into trouble in the past. Additionally, the presence of anglers on the waterside can help prevent litter, graffiti, vandalism and reduce the rate and fear of crime.  Recent research has highlighted the important role that anglers play in maintaining and improving water environments.

Environment Agency Fisheries Specialist Lawrence Talks, said, ‘I am excited about the opportunities for developing angling in London and our partnership with Thames21 and the Angling Trust will help give Londoners the opportunity to try fishing, learn about wetland wildlife and get involved.’

Angling Trust’s Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said: ‘Grant’s appointment is supported by Sport England and will expand on some existing good work such as getting angling included in the London School Games.  He will be aiming to increase the training and coordination of coaches through two London Angling Action Groups and will also improve the availability of information about where to fish in the capital, particularly through Angling Trust member clubs and fisheries.’

Thames21 Chief Executive Debbie Leach said: ‘This initiative will be fantastic for both new and existing anglers inLondon. In Grant’s previous role with Thames21, he was responsible for introducing thousands of people to the sport.  Now, this important new partnership between Thames21, the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency will help create a vibrant, developing angling scene inLondonwhich opens up a range of opportunities and ways for people to enjoy and progress in angling.’

For more information, or to get involved, contact Grant Fear, grant.fear@thames21.org.uk/ 07969 645 201

Notes to Editors

  • The London Angling Development Programme is part of a partnership programme between the Angling Trust, Thames21 and the Environment Agency.
  • For more information about recent research highlight the beneficial effect of angling, go to: Fishing for Answers at www.susbstance.coop.
  • Thames21 is an environmental charity, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. Thames21 is a keen supporter of angling programmes and coordinates the annual Catch21 programme to promote to engage people in fishing activities in London www.thames21.org.uk/catch21 @thames21 Facebook.com/Thames21
  • This post is being partly funded by rod licence money and  Sport England funding. It is an example of how rod licence money is reinvested into protecting and improving fisheries and into the sport of angling.
  • The Environment Agency is the leading public body protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales. It’s our job to make sure that air, land and water are looked after by everyone in today’s society, so that tomorrow’s generations inherit a cleaner, healthier world.  Our work includes tackling flooding and pollution incidents, reducing industry’s impacts on the environment, cleaning up rivers, coastal waters and contaminated land, and improving fisheries and wildlife habitats.
  • Sport England is the government agency responsible creating a world class community sport environment. Sport England is accountable to Parliament through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Sport England’s new strategy is focused on helping people and communities across the country create a sporting habit for life. www.sportengland.org

 

Press Release
For immediate release

Olympic-inspired river activities for young and old

London’s young and are old are being called on to get involved in a new campaign to improve the borough’s rivers and canals ahead of the London 2012 Games.

Volunteers of any age, ability and background can get involved in the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 and make a practical difference to the city’s iconic waterways, which will frame the eye for millions of visitors to the capital this summer.

Residents are invited to take part in range of free, unique volunteering events including, kayak-based litter clean ups, wildflower meadows planting days, invasive plant species removal days and many more, inspired by the 2012 London Games.

Hackney resident and green living campaigner Natalie Madie said: “This is a great example of local volunteering with the emphasis on residents taking pride in their own surroundings and public space. As a Hackney resident who regularly enjoys exploringRegentsCanal, I’m looking forward to taking part in these events so our waterways can be enjoyed in all their glory!”

Campaign coordinator Ben Fenton said: “London is lucky to have a fantastic network of waterways which will be a central part of the 2012 Games, and this is a great opportunity for people to be genuinely involved in the process of making it, and our city an example for the world this summer and into the future.”

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012, which was launched earlier this year in Hackney by Waterway Minister Richard Benyon, aims to involve at least 4000 Londoners in more than 80 events, transforming over 50 waterway locations along 30km of rivers and canals by July 2012 when the eyes of the world turn to the capital. Events will include walking waterway litter-picks, wildflower meadow planting and non-native invasive weed removal.

It has wide support from political, sporting and charitable groups and individuals, and is and being championed by Olympic rower and defending Gold champion Mark Hunter.

The campaign has been developed hand in hand with local communities and aims to allow as many people as possible to take part in and share in the green legacy of the London 2012 Games.

Andrew Altman, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “The Big Waterways Clean Up is a great way for local people to build community spirit and improve their surroundings. The waterways will be an important part of life on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the 2012 Games so projects like these are an another example of how legacy plans are more advanced than any previous host Olympic city.”

The campaign aims to inspire and support the next generation to care for their water spaces, with planned hands-on ‘waterway discovery days’ and an education pack developed especially for school children.

Thames21’s training programme, which will run alongside the programme, will ensure the sustainability of the campaign, by equipping volunteers who want to lead their own events with the skills, confidence and support to do so.

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is a partnership campaign, delivered by environmental charity Thames21 under the aegis of London Waterways Commission, with the support of Environment Agency, British Waterways, London Legacy Development Corporation, London 2012 Changing Places programme, the Greater London Authority, Port of London Authority, London Councils, City of London Corporation, and the Inland Waterways Association.

All equipment provided by Thames21. All ages and abilities welcome. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information on the campaign and to sign up see:
www.thames21.org.uk/project/bwcu or contact Ben: ben.fenton@thames21.org.uk/ 07920230970

A few upcoming events: (see all events here)

Regents Canal Clean Up
Wednesday, April 18

Free Narrowboat Trip
Tuesday, May 1
limited spaces

Create a wildflower Meadow with London 2012 Mad About Meadows
Wednesday, May 9
Hackney Wick

Notes to editors:
Big W­­­­aterways Clean Up 2012 partnership
The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is a partnership campaign delivered by environmental charity Thames21 under the aegis of the London Waterways Commission, with the support of Environment Agency, British Waterways, London 2012 Changing Places programme, Greater London Authority, London Legacy Development Corporation, Port of London Authority, London Councils, City of London Corporation, and the Inland Waterways Association.
www.thames21.org.uk/project/bwcu2012

Mark Hunter
Mark is a British Olympic squad rower and the reigning Olympic Champion in the lightweight men’s double scull. He was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his achievement.
http://www.britishrowing.org/gb-rowing-team/biographies/mark-hunter

Inspire programme
BWCU2012 is one of the outstanding projects granted the London 2012 Inspire mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme, which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the London 2012 Games.
http://www.london2012.com/inspire-programme

London Waterways Commission

The London Waterways Commission (LWC) has been established by the Mayor of London to advise the Mayor strategically on waterways issues and to support the implementation of the Blue Ribbon Network policies within the London Plan.
http://www.london.gov.uk/waterways/

Thames21
Thames21 is the voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. It mobilises over 9000 volunteers every year to clean and green the capital’s 400 mile network of waterways.
www.thames21.org.ukwww.twitter.com/thames21www.facebook.com/thames21

British Waterways
In 2012 the canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks cared for by British Waterways in England and Wales will transfer to the ownership of the Canal & River Trust.  This represents the next exciting chapter in the history of the waterways.  When launched, the Trust will be among the largest charities in the UK.  It will give people a greater role in the running of their local waterways, secure investment in the historic network and open up new sources of income.
www.waterscape.com/trust

London 2012 Changing Places programme
The London 2012 Changing Places programme has been created to secure environmental improvements for the communities that surround the Olympic Park and other Games venues.  The programme is coordinated by the London Organising Committee but works closely with over forty organisations to deliver a range of inspirational projects.  For further information about the programme and our partners please visit the London 2012 website: http://www.london2012.com/making-it-happen/sustainability/changing-places/about-changing-places.php

The London Legacy Development Corporation
The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It will secure high-quality sustainable development and investment and ensure the long-term success of the facilities and assets within its direct control and supporting and promoting the aim of convergence.
It takes over responsibility for the Park from the Olympic Park Legacy Company, and additional powers including planning powers from October 2012 from the Olympic Delivery Authority and London Thames Gateway Development Corporation. For more information visit: www.londonlegacy.co.uk/about-us

Environment Agency
The Environment Agency is an executive non departmental public body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Its principal aims are to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development. The Environment Agency’s involvement with projects such as the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is an example of its partnership work with other organisations to get a job done in priority locations such as East London, where the project is building on the environmental legacy work already achieved in preparation for the Olympic Games 2012.
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/

Inland Waterways Association
The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.
http://www.waterways.org.uk/

City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is a uniquely diverse organisation. It supports and promotes the City as the world leader in international finance and business services and provides local services and policing for those working in, living in and visiting the Square Mile. It also provides valued services to London and the nation.
http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation

Port of London Authority
The Port of London Authority covers 95 miles of the River Thames. It works to keep commercial and leisure users safe, protect and enhance the environment and promote the use of the river for trade and travel.
http://www.pla.co.uk/

For further information, interviews or images, please contact Emily Braham emily.braham@thames21.org.uk 020 7213 0166/ 07827 352 675.

 

 


  Sponsored by
             Volunteers needed to help ‘Deep Clean’ Thames foreshore on

 lowest tides of 2012

9th and 10th March – West London
11th and 13st March – West London

Hundreds of volunteers are set to give the River Thames a Deep Clean to mark the lowest daytime tides of 2012, led by Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity. The events will be sponsored by M&G Investments.

Volunteers are needed to take advantage of this brief annual opportunity to clean and green the vast expanses of river that are normally covered by regular tides. The first two events will take place in West London on March 9 and 10, while East London and the Isle of Dogs – one of the worst affected areas for plastic bag litter, will be the focus of the second two events on March 11 and 13.
Chris Coode Thames21 senior programme manager said: “With your help, the Deep Clean has been one of our biggest success stories. Mass volunteer efforts are without doubt the best way to tackle this amount of litter, and it is also the perfect chance for young and old to see the river up close in a fun and safe setting. Come and join us, and make a real difference to your environment, or just enjoy the Thames from a different angle.”

Thames21 volunteers have removed more than 300,000 plastic bags that collect in the mud on the river bend at the Isle of Dogs since 2001, helping to transform the foreshore from a dense carpet of plastic bag litter, making use of these low tides to tackle waste far from the water’s edge. In last year’s Deep Clean, over 300 volunteers freed the river of over 9 tonnes of litter.

Plastic litter is not only an eyesore, which blights people’s enjoyment of the River Thames as a great natural resource, but it permanently endangers wildlife, both in the Thames estuary and when washed out to sea. As many know, plastic never completely decomposes, but breaks down into smaller and more easily digestible pieces, causing great problems for all types of river and marine wildlife.

Thames21 will provide all equipment, support and guidance necessary to help several hundred volunteers make a practical improvement to London’s environment. Those taking part will also get the rare chance to get onto the foreshore at low tide, meet like-minded people and get a new perspective on London’s waterways.

Individuals and small groups do not need to register but those coming in a group of more than 10 and those wanting more information are kindly requested to contact Alice Hall: alice.hall@thames21.org.uk/ 07824 692 592

www.thames21.org.uk/deepclean

Event details:

Friday March 9
Battersea Bridge
Meet at south side of Battersea Bridge,
just off Battersea Bridge road
SW11 3BZ
8.45 – 12pm

Saturday March 10
Queen Caroline Draw Dock
Meet on the Thames Path at
end of Queen Caroline Street,
Hammersmith
W6 9BX
10am – 1pm

Sunday March 11
Newcastle Drawdock
Meet on Glenaffric Avenue, Isle of Dogs,
E14 3BW
9.00am – 11.30am


Tuesday March 13
Poplar Rowing Club
Ferry street, Cubitt town, Isle of Dogs
E14 3FA
10:00am – 12.30pm

Quotes for press use:
Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar, Limehouse:
“The Isle of Dogs has long been a collection point for plastic litter, and Thames21’s clean-up events at the site have made a huge difference to the problem. The Deep Clean is the perfect opportunity for local residents to join them on foreshore and make a real and lasting difference our area, and to the River Thames.” 

 

Richard Miles, Director of Corporate Communications, M&G Investments:
“M&G Investments is delighted to be supporting the annual Deep Clean on the Thames foreshore again this year and to support the work of Thames21 in highlighting the importance of caring for the environment.”

 

Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith:
“The Thames is a wonderful asset and has long been enjoyed by the people of Hammersmith, but it is also our responsibility to look after it – I urge as many people as possible to get out there and join Thames21 for this year’s Deep Clean.”

 

John Tagholm, London writer, producer director and Thames21 volunteer:
“The protection of the River Thames has always been incredibly important to me, both professionally and personally. I first started my career on the Thames at Puddle Dock near Blackfriars Bridge (which made way for the Mermaid Theatre) and the river is now the subject of my latest novel. I have attended about 6 clean-ups with Thames21 and have loved every single one. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to take part in a well-organised practical event that really makes a difference.”

 

Notes to editors:

 

  • Thames21 is an environmental charity (registered number 1103997) working to bring London’s waterways to life. Each year, with the help of around 9,000 volunteers, Thames21 works to improve the capitals rivers, tributaries and canal networks with a wide variety of programmes and activities www.thames21.org.uk www.twitter.com/thames21 www.facebook.com/thames21
  • The Deep Clean is an annual mass clean up event, now in its 4th year. www.thames21.org.uk/deepclean
  • M&G launched the UK’s first mutual fund in 1931 and has continued this history of innovation ever since
    M&G offers investors a wide range of funds across equities, bonds, property and multi asset. www.mandg.co.uk

 Thames21 statement on drought announcement for South East England, Feb 20 2012

Lack of rain for two winters running has reduced groundwater levels in South East England to below levels of the Summer of 1976 drought. Rivers  are under increasing pressure with very serious consequences for the environment and the wildlife that they support.

Thames21 works with local communities on the River Thames and tributaries and there is growing public concern over water levels.  The consequences of reduced volumes of water in our rivers can be severe for the plants and animals.  Reedbeds, for example along the tributaries provide essential habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, as well as improving the river by removing pollutants from the water, but are under threat from reducing water levels.  Wildlife habitat in riverbanks can be left high and dry and exposed. Reduced water levels have a direct impact on the quality of the water.  For example, pollution such as sewage overflows have less water to dilute them and can devastate wildlife such as the young and vulnerable fish to be found in our rivers in summer.  Less water in the river also means that the water heats up more quickly, reducing the levels of oxygen in the water upon which aquatic wildlife depends.

More water is being taken from rivers to fill our taps through abstraction due to the dry conditions, and It is clear that the relationship between abstraction and river health will continue to be a growing theme in conservation as pressures increase. Last year, we had only 79 per cent of average rainfall. Thames Water’s East London desalination plant is likely to be in operation soon, signalling the extent of the current shortage.

While water is used for many purposes, ultimately water companies must abstract from rivers as much water as people use. To reduce this pressure, we need to push for greater water efficiency at all levels. There simply isn’t enough water around to meet all needs, at present.

Everyone needs to address this problem now before it is a problem for all of us.

– use to be attributed to Thames21 Chief Executive, Debbie Leach.

See Defra’s statement here


Greenwich joins Big Waterways Clean Up 2012

Greenwich residents are being called on to get involved in a new campaign to improve the borough’s rivers and canals ahead of the London 2012 Games.

Volunteers of any age, ability and background can get involved in the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 and make a real and practical difference to the city’s iconic waterways, which will frame the eye for millions of visitors to the capital this summer.

Those wanting to get involved can get stuck in on the Thames foreshore on Saturday, February 25th, helping to rid the river of damaging and unsightly litter.

Campaign coordinator Ben Fenton said: “Greenwich is an iconic part of London and a central part of the London 2012 Games – this is a fantastic opportunity for people to be genuinely involved in the process of making it and our city an example for the world, and at the same time ensure that the benefits for people, wildlife and our amazing rivers and canals continue long into the future.”

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012, which was launched earlier this month on the River Lee Navigation in Hackney by Waterway Minister Richard Benyon, aims to involve at least 4000 Londoners in more than 80 events, transforming over 50 waterway locations along 30km of rivers and canals by July 2012 when the eyes of the world turn to the capital. Events will include walking waterway litter-picks, wildflower meadow planting and non-native invasive weed removal.

It has wide support from political, sporting and charitable individuals, and is and being championed by Olympic rower and defending Gold champion Mark Hunter.

The campaign has been developed hand in hand with local communities and aims to allow as many people as possible to take part in and share in the green legacy of the London 2012 Games.

It aims to inspire and support the next generation to care for their water spaces, with planned hands-on ‘waterway discovery days’ and an education pack developed especially for school children.

Thames21’s training programme, which will run alongside the programme, will ensure the sustainability of the campaign, by equipping volunteers who want to lead their own events with the skills, confidence and support to do so.

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is a partnership campaign, led by environmental charity Thames21, between London Waterways Commission, Environment Agency, British Waterways, London 2012 Changing Places programme, Mayor of London, Team London, British Waterways, Olympic Park Legacy Company, Port of London Authority, London Councils, City of London Corporation, and the Inland Waterways Association.

See full event details here

For more information on the campaign and to sign up see:
www.thames21.org.uk/project/bwcu or contact Ben Fenton: ben.fenton@thames21.org.uk/ 07920 230 970


For further information, interviews or images, please contact Emily Braham emily.braham@thames21.org.uk 020 7213 0166/ 07827 352 675.
For inquiries to the Mayor’s office:
environmentdesk@london.gov.uk / 020 7983 4928/4066

 

 

 


Boost for Angling in London 

Press Release
For Immediate Release 10/2/12

Fishing in London is set to receive a welcome boost with the appointment of a London Angling Development Officer who will seek to develop angling opportunities for all across the capital. If you are interested, this is your chance to make a difference with applications due by the 26th February.

The Environment Agency, Thames21, the Angling Development Board have come together in a unique partnership to fund this post, which aims to make  fishing appealing and accessible to all,  through highlighting  the social, economic and environmental benefits of one of the country’s most popular sports.

Working closely with the local community, the officer will seek to involve people of all ages and abilities, including the disadvantaged, young people, women, and people from all backgrounds in angling.

Through angling, the project aims to connect people with the capital’s waterways and help them get involved in restoring these amazing spaces.

Environment Agency Fisheries Specialist Lawrence Talks, said, ’I am excited about the opportunities for developing angling in London and our partnership with Thames 21 and the Angling Development Board will help give Londoners the opportunity to try fishing, learn about wetland wildlife and get involved.’

Thames21 chief executive Debbie Leach said the post was a significant step for angling in London:

“We are delighted to be working with the Environment Agency and Angling Development Board to create more opportunities for people to go fishing in London. There are beautiful rivers, lakes and canals right across the capital and angling is an outstanding way for everyone, whatever their background, age or gender to enjoy them”.

Jackie Sheldon, Senior Development Manager of the Angling Development Board added

“This post will bring together the angling community and key stakeholders to increase angling participation in London. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to highlight how collaboration between our organisations can open up more opportunities for people to take up angling”

To find out more about this new job opportunity, see here
orcontact Kathy Wilkinson: kathy.wilkinson@thames21.org.uk or for more information please contact Theo Thomas theo.thomas@thames21.org.uk/ 07968 012828

Notes to Editors

  • The Angling Development Officer post is now being advertised and applications close on February 26th. For more information or to apply see: http://www.thames21.org.uk/jobs/
  • Thames21 is an environmental charity, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. Thames21 is a keen supporter of angling programmes and coordinates the annual Catch21 programme to promote to engage people in fishing activities in London.
  • This post is being partly funded by rod licence money.  It is an example of how rod licence money is reinvested into protecting and improving fisheries and into the sport of angling.
  • The Environment Agency is the leading public body protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales. It’s our job to make sure that air, land and water are looked after by everyone in today’s society, so that tomorrow’s generations inherit a cleaner, healthier world.  Our work includes tackling flooding and pollution incidents, reducing industry’s impacts on the environment, cleaning up rivers, coastal waters and contaminated land, and improving fisheries and wildlife habitats.

 

Press Release
For immediate release 8/2/12

Call for volunteers as ‘Big Waterways Clean Up 2012’
kicks off

  • East London’s rivers and canals set for Spring clean ahead of 2012 Games
  • Teams of canoeists will tackle hard to reach rubbish

Olympic Gold medallist and 2012 hopeful Mark Hunter will today launch a call for volunteers to roll up their sleeves and help clean and green East London’s rivers and canals ahead of the London 2012 Games (Wednesday, February 8th).

The new campaign aims to involve at least 4000 Londoners in more than 80 events, transforming over 50 waterway locations along 30km of rivers and canals by July 2012 when the eyes of the world turn to the capital. Events will include walking waterway litter-picks, wildflower meadow planting and non-native invasive weed removal.

The campaign has wide support from political, sporting and charitable individuals and is part of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s plans to support widespread clean up events to ensure visitors during the London 2012 Games are welcomed to a grime and litter-free city.

British rower, Mark Hunter, who won Olympic Gold in Beijing and who is going for Gold again in London, has signed up as an ambassador for the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 campaign, which will be kicked off by Waterway Minister Richard Benyon and the Mayor of London’s Environment Director Kulveer Ranger today as they litter-pick along the banks of the River Lee Navigation. They were joined by eager local volunteers and children from Gainsborough School, as well as a team of canoeists who skimmed the river of hard-to-reach rubbish.

Mark encouraged people of all ages to get involved and help put the best of the capital on show this summer, saying: “The rivers of London are what first inspired me to take up rowing and are now obviously a huge part of my life. I feel quite privileged to have such access to rivers, and I think we have a great responsibility to look after them. I urge all Londoners to get involved in the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 and help improve these amazing spaces and create an example for the world this summer”.

Minister for environment and fisheries Richard Benyon said: “Rivers are a much loved part of where we live and the Big Waterways Clean Up is an excellent example of how communities can turn their local environment into an area they can be proud of.
I am delighted that I have been able to give a helping hand to clean up what will be a focal point for visitors when they come to London to visit the Olympic Games.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Cleaning up London especially in this historic year, is a key priority for me but also for the hundreds of volunteers who put in their time and effort to keep the city in tip top condition. Our waterways and canals are some of our most precious assets, so supported by my Team London volunteer programme, I am backing this call to swell the numbers of people donating their time to keep them free of grime and alien vegetation.”

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said: “The Inspire programme is ensuring the legacy of the 2012 Games starts now as projects like the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 are enabling people in east London to make positive life changes.”

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 has been developed hand in hand with local communities and aims to allow as many people as possible to take part in and share in the green legacy of the London 2012 Games.

It aims to inspire and support the next generation to care for their water spaces, with planned hands-on ‘waterway discovery days’ and an education pack developed especially for school children.

Thames21’s training programme, which will run alongside the programme, will ensure the sustainability of the campaign, by equipping volunteers who want to lead their own events with the skills, confidence and support to do so.

There has already been a huge upgrade to canals near to the Olympic site which has created a fantastic legacy for the capital and now we want to build on this to clean-up more of East London’s waterways.

The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is a partnership campaign, led by environmental charity Thames21, between London Waterways Commission, Environment Agency, British Waterways, London 2012 Changing Places programme, Mayor of London, Team London, British Waterways, Olympic Park Legacy Company, Port of London Authority, London Councils, City of London Corporation, and the Inland Waterways Association.

For more information on the campaign and to sign up click here: or contact Ben Fenton: ben.fenton@thames21.org.uk/ 07920 230 970

Other quotes:

Murad Qureshi AM Chair of London Waterways Commission:
“This campaign was inspired by the Olympics but its ultimate aim extends far beyond.  London’s waterways are a vital, yet sometimes forgotten part of the city landscape.  If we all do our bit to keep our rivers and canals clean, then they will reap huge benefits, not only for ourselves but also local wildlife.  I wish the campaign every success and would encourage anyone to get involved in the clean-up and rediscover their local waterways as some of the most valuable and rewarding spaces in London”

Lord Chris Smith Chair of Environment Agency: “We’ve all been rightly proud of the improvements we’ve seen in the River Thames during the last ten years or so. But let’s not forget all the other rivers that thread their way through London – just as important – and needing our active stewardship if we’re to make them fit for our Olympic city today and for future generations tomorrow. Campaigns like the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 will help us to achieve this all important legacy for London.”

Chief Executive Olympic Park Legacy Company Andrew Altman: “The Big Waterways Clean Up is a great way for local people to build community spirit and improve their surroundings. The waterways will be an important part of life on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the 2012 Games so projects like these are an another example of how legacy plans are more advanced than any previous host Olympic city.”

Thames21 Chief Executive Debbie Leach:
“It is very excitin­­­­g to see so many people joining up with neighbours and friends to transform their local rivers or canals and turn them into somewhere people of all generations can use and enjoy.  Our rivers and canals frame our city – let’s get them ready to show to the world in July 2012”

Richard Rutter, head of enterprise at British Waterways:
“The waterways are not only an integral feature of the Olympics, they form the heart of the communities they run through.  The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 offers the chance for local people to get involved and be part of a creating a green legacy that will keep the newly regenerated waterways somewhere to enjoy long after the Games have finished.”

Notes to editors:
Big W­­­­aterways Clean Up 2012 partnership
The Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is being led by environmental charity Thames21 with the support of London Waterways Commission, Environment Agency, British Waterways, London 2012 Changing Places programme, Mayor of London, Team London, British Waterways, Olympic Park Legacy Company, Port of London Authority, London Councils, City of London Corporation, and the Inland Waterways Association.
www.thames21.org.uk/project/bwcu2012

Mark Hunter
Mark is a British Olympic squad rower and the reigning Olympic Champion in the lightweight men’s double scull. He was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his achievement.
http://www.britishrowing.org/gb-rowing-team/biographies/mark-hunter

Inspire programme
BWCU2012 is one of the outstanding projects granted the London 2012 Inspire mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme, which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the London 2012 Games.
http://www.london2012.com/inspire-programme

London Waterways Commission

The London Waterways Commission (LWC) has been established by the Mayor of London to advise the Mayor strategically on waterways issues and to support the implementation of the Blue Ribbon Network policies within the London Plan.
http://www.london.gov.uk/waterways/

Thames21
Thames21 is the voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. It mobilises over 9000 volunteers every year to clean and green the capital’s 400 mile network of waterways.
www.thames21.org.uk, www.twitter.com/thames21, www.facebook.com/thames21

British Waterways
In 2012 the canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks cared for by British Waterways in England and Wales will transfer to the ownership of the Canal & River Trust.  This represents the next exciting chapter in the history of the waterways.  When launched, the Trust will be among the largest charities in the UK.  It will give people a greater role in the running of their local waterways, secure investment in the historic network and open up new sources of income.
www.waterscape.com/trust

London 2012 Changing Places programme
The London 2012 Changing Places programme has been created to secure environmental improvements for the communities that surround the Olympic Park and other Games venues.  The programme is coordinated by the London Organising Committee but works closely with over forty organisations to deliver a range of inspirational projects.  For further information about the programme and our partners please visit the London 2012 website: http://www.london2012.com/making-it-happen/sustainability/changing-places/about-changing-places.php

Team London
Team London is the Mayor’s ambitious programme to mobilise an army of volunteers across the capital to improve life in London through programmes that will reduce crime, increase opportunities for youth and improve quality of life by cleaning and greening London and building stronger neighbourhoods. Since 2008, the Mayor’s programmes have galvanised tens of thousands of Londoners into action and Team London is now seeking to encourage an additional 10,000 volunteers by May 2012. www.london.gov.uk/teamlondon.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company
The Olympic Park Legacy Company supports the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 campaign. The Legacy Company was established in May 2009 by its founders – the Government and Mayor of London – as a public sector not-for-profit company, responsible for the long-term planning, development, management and maintenance of the Olympic Park.
You can find further information about the company on this website www.legacycompany.co.uk

Environment Agency
The Environment Agency is an executive non departmental public body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Its principal aims are to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development. The Environment Agency’s involvement with projects such as the Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is an example of its partnership work with other organisations to get a job done in priority locations such as East London, where the project is building on the environmental legacy work already achieved in preparation for the Olympic Games 2012.
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/

Inland Waterways Association
The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.
http://www.waterways.org.uk/

City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is a uniquely diverse organisation. It supports and promotes the City as the world leader in international finance and business services and provides local services and policing for those working in, living in and visiting the Square Mile. It also provides valued services to London and the nation.
http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation

Port of London Authority
The Port of London Authority covers 95 miles of the River Thames. It works to keep commercial and leisure users safe, protect and enhance the environment and promote the use of the river for trade and travel.
http://www.pla.co.uk/

For further information, interviews or images, please contact Emily Braham emily.braham@thames21.org.uk 020 7213 0166/ 07827 352 675.
For inquiries to the Mayor’s office:
environmentdesk@london.gov.uk / 020 7983 4928/4066

 

Media release
For immediate release 31 January 2012

Appalled ocean rower backs ‘supersewer’    

Sewage in Thames a “disgusting embarrassment” to London

Roz Savage tells MP Zac Goldsmith’s Thames Tunnel Now event

Roz Savage, the ocean rower, is appealing for opponents of a super sewer for London to take the long-term view, saying: “We need to accept some short-term pain for the long-term gain.”

The 44-year-old told a House of Commons reception, hosted by environmentalist and conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, that London’s antiquated sewer network is a “disgusting embarrassment” that urgently needs tackling.

Zac said: “The existing sewer system is remarkable, given that it is 160 years old. But it needs an overhaul. We put enough raw sewage into the river to fill the Albert Hall 450 times, and that has to stop.” He added; “In addition to the environmental imperative, this project will create thousands of local jobs, and high quality apprenticeships, and contribute to getting us back on track economically.”

Roz echoed his comments and on the predicted impact of the Thames Tunnel’s construction on people living near to the river, she added: “I quite understand their concerns but sometimes you have to put up with short-term pain for long-term gain.”

The Westminster event followed a close-up inspection of one of the overflow vents. Roz rowed under Putney Bridge to see for herself the human effluent, sanitary items and other detritus that run from the combined sewer overflow (CSO) beneath the busy Thames crossing, just yards away from riverside restaurants and prestigious rowing clubs.

Putney Bridge CSO discharges 34 times a year on average, accounting for 68,200 of the 39m tonnes of sewage that annually enters the river from the 36* most-polluting CSOs built into London’s overstretched Victorian sewer network.

Roz, the first woman to row across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, braved London’s filthy waters in her role as ambassador for Thames Tunnel Now (TTN) – a coalition of 18 environmental groups who support the proposed Thames Tunnel, which will stop sewage entering the river.

After her trip to see the Putney sewer overflow, Roz addressed a TTN reception at the House of Commons attended by nearly 200 supporters of the project. Roz said: “It’s a disgusting embarrassment that we are dumping hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sewage into the river every week. It is also a serious health hazard and I hate to think what visitors to the Olympics will think. I’ve rowed through some pretty grim stuff on my travels but the Thames is heart-breakingly returning to the open sewer it used to be 200 years ago. The Thames Tunnel cannot come soon enough.”

As little as 2mm of rain is enough to overload the capital’s sewerage system and cause untreated effluent to spill into the river. Disease-ridden sewage discharges, which often kill fish and other wildlife, take place more than once a week on average.

The 14-mile ‘supersewer’ will take the sewage that currently enters the river away for treatment. The width of three London buses, it will run from Acton in the west to Abbey Mills in the east, according to proposals.

Debbie Leach, chief executive of environmental charity Thames21, lead agency of the TTN coalition, said: “The River Thames is the greatest open space running across London, but we are failing completely to protect it. The Thames is being ruined for the people of London as well as for the amazing wildlife that depends on it. We need to change things. The Thames Tunnel project is vital. It needs to be delivered now.”

Phil Burston, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a TTN member, said: “The Thames Tunnel is a once in a generation opportunity to leave a sewage-free Thames as our legacy for this century and beyond. The Thames Tunnel Now coalition believes it is the only viable and cost effective way to deliver that legacy.”

Phil Stride, Thames Water’s head of London Tideway Tunnels, said: “We are in listening mode right now, midway through the second phase of our public consultation for the Thames Tunnel. We are eager to hear people’s views and concerns about how best to deliver this must-do project to clean up London’s river.”

A planning application (Development Consent Order**) for the tunnel, forecast by Defra to cost £4.1bn, is set to be submitted in 2013. Provided approval is granted, engineers expect to break ground in 2016, and complete the scheme in 2023.

The Thames Tunnel is the third phase of the London Tideway Improvements programme. Phase one – £675m of upgrades to London’s five main sewage works – is already under way, as is phase two – the £635m Lee Tunnel, a four-mile sewage tunnel to tackle the Abbey Mills CSO in Stratford, taking sewage that currently spills to the River Lee for treatment at Beckton sewage works in Newham

Ends

Media contacts

Emily Braham of Thames21
020 7213 0166
07827 352 675
emily.braham@thames21.org.uk

Tim Webb of the RSPB:
020 7808 1246
07921 740 753
tim.webb@rspb.org.uk

Notes:

Images of Roz inspecting the combined sewer overflow are available from Emily or Tim, along with images of the CSO overflow and its impact on riverlife.

Thames Tunnel Now [www.thamestunnelnow.org] is an expanding collective of environmental and wildlife charities and amenity groups, which came together in October 2011 to protest at potential delays to plans to stop sewage pollution in the River Thames through the construction of the Thames Tunnel project. TTN includes:

  • Angling Trust,
  • Barge Association,
  • Inland Waterways Association,
  • London Corinthian Sailing Club,
  • London Sustainability Exchange,
  • London Wildlife Trust,
  • Mammal Society,
  • Marine Conservation Society,
  • National Association of Boat Owners,
  • Putney Bridge Canoe Club,
  • River Thames Society,
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds,
  • Rowers Against Sewage,
  • Salmon & Trout Association,
  • Thames21,
  • Thames Anglers Conservancy,
  • Thames Rivers Restoration Trust and
  • WWF.

Roz Savage

Roz is a British ocean rower, environmental campaigner, and keynote speaker. She holds four world records for ocean rowing, including first woman to row three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. She has rowed over 15,000 miles, taken around 5m oarstrokes, and spent cumulatively over 500 days of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. She uses her ocean rowing adventures to inspire action on the top environmental challenges facing the world today. For more info about Roz, visit her website: www.rozsavage.com

For pics of Roz in action, visit her Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rozsavage/sets/72157625959526853

To download the highest-res images from Flickr, follow these steps:

1. Select the picture you want

2. From the row of icons immediately above the picture, click on “All Sizes”

3. On the next screen, you will see “Original” as the largest size available in the row of options above the photo. Click on this.

4. A link will appear, saying “Download the Original size”. Click on this.

5. And the image will be downloaded to your computer.

Further detail on the Thames Tunnel

 

* There are 36 CSOs that the Enviornment Agency requires Thames Water to tackle. Thirty-four are tackled by the Thames Tunnel, one by the Lee Tunnel and one by other means at Wick Lane sewage pumping depot.

** The water company will apply not a planning permission, as is currently the case, but rather for a ‘Development Consent Order.’

Visit the Thames Tunnel website for more: http://www.thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk/

Or for pictorial summary, see our Thames Tideway Tunnel Infographic.


 

Snapshot of East London’s rivers shows they are choked with our chemicals and sewage

A study of rivers running through the London Boroughs of Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest and Epping Forest has shown that the Lea and the rivers flowing into it are being damaged by pollution coming from everyone in the valley.

The snapshot water quality testing was commissioned by Thames21 and saw staff working alongside students from Queen Mary’s University London.

The tests were carried out at the end of November to get a picture of the problem in one go, across the worst affected parts of the Lea Valley. The River Lea and the streams that flow into it form London’s second largest river system, but are being devastated by pollution.

The Pymmes and Salmons Brook in LB Enfield don’t have enough oxygen in the water to support healthy fish life.

The Dagenham Brook in LB Waltham Forest is tainted by extremely high levels of phosphates, a sign that chemicals from people’s homes and sewage is entering the river. The Ching could be healthy but is spoiled by chemicals and high levels of raw sewage.

The Moselle Brook in LB Haringey has oxygen levels too low to support fish, while the river bed is covered with sewage fungus.

While the Cobbins Brook through DC Epping Forest flows mainly through countryside it is in trouble. Phosphate levels are too high and as it carries on down the valley the river’s health drops.

When the River Lea flows into Tower Hamlets and Newham, it is full of poisons from the whole valley, making it the most polluted river in Britain.

Theo Thomas from Thames21 said: “If someone walked into a wood with a chainsaw and cut down the trees, there would rightly be an outcry. But the equivalent is happening every day in the rivers of East London. The pollution we all dump down drains,that gets washed off our streets or overflows from sewage works is killing wildlife and making the rivers no go areas for people.”

“We carried out this testing to show that the problems with East London’s rivers are widespread. The root cause is not caring enough what happens to the water we use. What we put in it and where it then ends up. We’ve started up the ‘Love the Lea’ campaign to highlight what needs to be done. We need to find out where the pollution is coming from, but also change our own actions”.

For more information on our Love the Lea campaign, click here.

Thames21 commissioned environmental consultant Grieg Davies for a snapshot of the health of East London’s rivers.

A copy of the report “A water quality analysis of the River Lee and major tributaries within the perimeter of the M25, from Waltham Abbey to Bow Locks.” is available on request.

For all media enquiries contact Theo Thomas theo.thomas@thames21.org.uk 07968 012 828

Support Love the Lea on Facebook.

 

New waterway improvement project for Bexley

The River Cray is set to benefit from a new community project led by London’s leading waterway charity, Thames21 and funded by Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB).

The project builds on the charity’s strong presence in the borough and will work closely with Bexley Council, linking in with its ambitious Green Grid plans, and involving residents in long-lasting improvements to their waterways.

There will be numerous opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get involved and help make a difference to the local environment, with activities such as litter removal, family-friendly pond dipping and nature exploration, biodiversity enhancements, and invasive species removal.
New Thames21 Riverkeeper Michael Heath will lead the project, from a strong back ground in community service and environmental stewardship in the area.

He will manage a programme of practical events along the River Cray, Foots Cray Meadows and the Erith Thames Riverside, with a focus on increasing awareness and engagement on environmental issues.

Michael said the project was a great chance to bring people together for the benefit of the environment. “There is already a very strong community spirit in Bexley and I am really looking forward to working with people from all walks of life to improve the Cray,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity to make a real difference to the local waterways which are vital for wildlife and serves as a valuable community asset for relaxation and recreation. “

The project builds on the charity’s significant former work in the area, which ceased in March due to funding constraints, but was maintained by core group of volunteers.

Bexley volunteers Gaynor Hogart, Alan Bezodiz and Chris Rose all received a special mention in Thames21’s 2011 Volunteer of the Year Awards for their efforts in protecting and caring for the Cray.

To get involved or for more information, contact Michael Heath michael.heath@thames21.org.uk or ph: 07968 805 751.