Sign up for our Plastic-Free Community Action Plan

Sign up for our Plastic-Free Community Action Plan

The South East Rivers Trust has launched a new scheme to encourage groups to protect rivers from plastic, by cutting their reliance on single-use items. It is called the Community Action Plan and is part of our Preventing Plastic Pollution project. Below, Hannah Dry, our Plastics Project Officer, outlines the concept and how you can get involved.

Help us identify all South East chalk streams

The South East Rivers Trust has launched a Chalk Streams Review, to ensure that all rivers and streams which qualify across our catchments are identified and mapped. Dr Chris Gardner, our Head of Science and Partnerships, sets out the plan and how the public can help.

Loddon Rivers Week has instant impact

Some of the volunteers who took part in Loddon Rivers Week witnessed immediate improvements to waterways, reports Lou Sykes, our Loddon Catchment Officer.

The annual week of events took place at the end of September. Activities varied from walks and talks to giving people hands-on opportunities to get involved in river restoration.

Beginning of the end for balsam bashing?

The battle to remove Himalayan Balsam from riverbanks by hand has become a staple activity of river conservation management. This invasive non-native species returns annually – and spreads profusely.

However, a biological method of tackling it could eventually rid our rivers of it completely. Nicky Scott, our Volunteer and Engagement Officer, reports the initial results of a trial on the River Hogsmill.

Seven reasons to put the local river on your school’s curriculum

Jonathan Dean, our Education Development Officer, plays a central role in developing and delivering the Trust’s education strategy. He oversees our formal education work, extending across all our catchments. Here, he shares his thoughts on why rivers should be an important part of the curriculum for any school in the south east of England.

Launch yourself into Loddon Rivers Week

Come and join the South East Rivers Trust and partners for a fun-packed series of events to improve the health of the River Loddon.

During Loddon Rivers Week, running between Monday 26th September and Sunday 2nd October, there’s something for everyone, whether it is joining in guided walks or donning waders and taking positive action via restoration work in rivers across several parts of the catchment.

You’ll need to sign up for all activities in advance on our events page or via the contact details below.

The bigger water saving picture

The recent and prolonged dry spell has brought water scarcity in the UK into sharp focus. Several water companies in the south of England have triggered restrictions, including hosepipe bans.

On 12th August the Environment Agency declared drought in eight out of 14 water areas. Unfortunately, this is likely to be the future. We can’t just pray for rain. We need to regenerate river catchments and plan for the climate crisis. 

Robyn Shaw, Assistant Education and Engagement Officer at the South East Rivers Trust, looks at the factors around water scarcity and introduces our Water Saving Tips page, which emphasises that the issue is one we must all take responsibility for and think about all year round.

Junior River Ranger water saving competition

Calling all children and families! Learn to love rivers this summer by becoming a Junior River Ranger and be entered into a special prize draw by showing us how you have saved water.

Enjoy our Junior River Ranger activities, then complete the form for this amazing summer holiday competition that will get the whole family out in nature.

Our fantastic competition’s deadline is Sunday 9th October.

Sign up to be a River Guardian on River Medway

Residents living close to the Medway and its tributaries are being called on to take action against plastic pollution by joining a new River Guardians Team with the South East Rivers Trust (SERT). 

The waterways charity, which is providing free River Guardian kits, is asking people to adopt their local stretch of river and carry out regular litter picks alongside the banks to keep the water plastic free.

Equipment includes a litter picker, hoop, gloves and first bag, as well as information on how to report other issues affecting the river such as pollution.

Rethinking single-use habits during Plastic Free July 

Preventing Plastic Pollution

The South East Rivers Trust has been tackling pollution in rivers ever since it was formed – as the Wandle Trust – 20 years ago. 

Becoming involved with the Preventing Plastic Pollution project, on the River Medway, seemed a natural step. Plastic pollution affects all rivers, however. Therefore we want to develop our work beyond one area by engaging with a wider public as well as including the issue in our catchment action plans.

A year’s worth of cleanups give us the perfect evidence to shape behaviour change across our whole area – and the annual Plastic Free July campaign presents an appropriate moment to raise awareness of the issues and strive to change our habits. Set up in 2011, the annual campaign aims to help people reduce their reliance on single-use plastic and live by more sustainable methods.  Below, we’ve come up with several suggestions for you to try in July – and hopefully continue with well after one month.   

Wandle Discovery Day

20 year anniversary of the South East Rivers TrustJoin us for a fun-filled Wandle Discovery Day on Saturday 16th July, as the South East Rivers Trust (SERT) celebrates its 20th anniversary during London Rivers Week.

Several events will be running from Merton Abbey Mills to Poulter Park, giving you the chance to don waders and find out what’s in the river, or learn about the wildlife and industrial history through a range of activities.

Managing soil via satellites and GIS

The South East Rivers Trust is using satellite image processing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to target measures to improve soil management and water quality, writes Dr Alastair Pearson, one of our GIS analysts.

Methods of soil management include the introduction of cover crops to promote better nutrient balance and soil structure, improve weed control and biodiversity, and the reduction of erosion.

Have your say on sewage spills

The South East Rivers Trust is calling on its supporters to respond to the Government’s consultation on sewage spills – and ask for more urgency to tackle the issue.

The Government’s Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan survey was launched on 31st March, with a deadline to respond by 12th May.

We’ve put together this short news piece to support you in understanding the issue and how your response to the consultation could help instigate the change we need.

SERT joins call to end CSO spills sooner

The South East Rivers Trust has joined calls from the national movement to set more urgent targets to reduce sewage pollution in our rivers, in reaction to Government announcements.

On Thursday, 31st March, the Government, via Defra, launched a consultation on the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan, which it aims to produce by September.

 

Volunteers find double number of eel barriers on River Mole

European eels face more than double the number of barriers as had previously been recorded when travelling along the River Mole and its tributary rivers, a pilot conservation project has found.

Volunteers trained by the South East Rivers Trust (SERT) as part of the Thames Catchment Community Eels Project found 119 impediments – such as weirs, sluices and culverts – 66 of which were new to existing data.

Volunteer interview “You can see you’ve made a difference”

At a River Wandle cleanup at the start of February, we caught up with Phil Stubbington, a regular South East Rivers Trust volunteer, to find out why he gets involved with our work.

At a stretch of river off Poulter Park in Carshalton, he was one of about 20 people who collected many bulky items and dozens of bags of rubbish.

Items collected ranged from wet wipes and clothing embedded in the berms and silt, to polystyrene, crisp packet, piping, a car number plate and wood that had been furniture.

 

SuDS not floods – pass it on!

The South East Rivers Trust has been working with Sutton Council to deliver a SuDS in Schools project in Carshalton. Delivering a sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) project has been a new and valuable experience for the Trust.

Timing could not have been better for this SuDS project.  Along with all the extreme weather events around the world that have been in the news, closer to home flash flooding has hit the headlines.  Not only does this demonstrate the urgent need to address surface water flooding, but it has brought the issue to the public’s attention.  It is the perfect chance to capitalise on the growing awareness of climate change and interest in environmental issues to get SuDS on the public agenda.

For more information on SuDS, click here.