Last week Barrie Neaves from the Environment Agency visited the village to discuss the river with myself and Councillor John Mansfield and Richard Blackford from the Village Hall and Recreation Ground Charity.
The aim on my part was to discuss some of the recreation ideas that have come out of the Neighbourhood Plan process.
The aim on Barrie’s part was to secure village support for a cleaning up of the river: water quality is currently classed as ‘bad’ and needs to become ‘good’ over the next few years.
This is a short summary:
- Southern Water have spent large amounts of money over the past few years removing phosphates from the sewage plant at Ashford. They will be doing something similar in Wye shortly. Residents, however, could help with this process by checking that their dirty water isn’t draining into the rainwater sewer (and thence to the river). This is a common problem – even in modern properties.
- the Environment Agency would support/publicise a river litter clear-up day in March. Anyone interested in helping with this, please contact me direct.
- the Environment Agency would not be averse to some sort of amenity site on the river downriver from the Tickled Trout. Indeed Barrie thought this would be a better area for such a site than the Village Hall playing field where the bank is steep going down to the river. With regard to the idea of a community swimming pool, he pointed out that they had recently constructed something similar at Godinton – for dogs rather than people. Such a scheme would however rely on the support of the landowner.
- the Environment Agency is reconstructing the fish passage around the mill over the next few months. This will make it easier for fish to get upstream.
- the mill is one of the sites identified as having potential for micro-hydro power. Careful analysis would have to be carried out as to the effect on water levels. And it would be necessary to have the support of the mill-owner.
- we talked about the possibility of having a facility in the village for the disposal of paint, oil and other liquids that shouldn’t be put down the rainwater drain. Barrie said that the EA might be able to get funding for such a scheme if it was supported through the Neighbourhood Plan.
Barrie kindly agreed to be filmed while on his visit. I think I had anticipated a crisp autumnal day but it turned out to be mirky to say the least so we recorded an interview in my studio – mainly about the phosphate problem. (The crackling sound is the noise of rainwater on my metal roof.)