Water crowfoot

New study confirms poor state of the River Lambourn

June 1, 2016

A new report released this week ranks the River Lambourn ecology a lowly 10th out of 12 rivers studied.

The census from Salmon and Trout Conservation studied riverfly populations and complements work that Action for the River Kennet’s (ARK) riverfly volunteers have been doing to monitor the river’s health. Importantly it confirms that the river suffers from pollution.

The River Lambourn is a key tributary of the River Kennet and has the highest level of environmental protection as one of England’s most precious chalk streams. Charlotte Hitchmough from ARK said ‘This new study is a stark reminder that the Lambourn is not the pristine chalk stream that it should be, because of human impact particularly pollution from septic tanks, farms and sewage’. ARK is calling on everyone in the Kennet and Lambourn catchment to ‘SAY NO TO PHOSPHATE’ by choosing cleaning products which contain no phosphate. To help them they are running a competition to win a basket of Ecover cleaning products –just email ‘hello@riverkennet.org’ with the title ‘No Phosphate’ to enter.
It is not all doom and gloom however, ARK’s riverfly volunteers are finding good riverfly populations at some sites both on the main River Kennet and its tributaries. Rivers can recover if we treat them well. With advice and encouragement from ARK, Natural England and others, farmers are changing farming practices to reduce soil and sediment loss and the water industry are improving sewage treatment methods. Householders with septic tanks have a very important role to play by to ensuring that their tanks are in good order choosing no and low phosphate products.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help improve the river either by getting involved in water quality testing, riverfly surveying or practical habitat restoration can contact charlotte@riverkennet.org