Do you see drains – known as outfalls – spilling pollution into rivers when out on riverside walks? Do you know why this happens and would you like to help sort out the problem?
Our rivers should be healthy spaces for wildlife, but need protecting from many forms of pollution. One of them is household plumbing that is misconnected, meaning that foul water goes straight into the waterways through drains that should be connected to the sewage system.
This spring, river lovers along the Wandle and the Cray and Shuttle are being given the chance to train as citizen scientists to help rectify the problem in the latest roll out of the Outfall Safari programme.
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.
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.
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.
In March 2022, our volunteers and members of the Morden Hall Park Nature Group spent three days in the glorious sunshine restoring a stretch of the River Wandle as it flows through Morden Hall Park.
Now owned by the National Trust, Morden Hall Park was once a deer park for a country estate. With the Wandle splitting into many meandering channels, the park remained as a green oasis throughout the river’s industrial heyday.
This was the latest stage of an on-going project, started in 2015 and due to run until 2024, giving volunteers the chance to improve the river channel at the park, writes Jess Mead.
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.
We love rivers. So it couldn’t be more perfect that our 20th Anniversary falls on Valentine’s Day.
Our volunteers were incredibly busy back in February 2020, carrying out River Restoration on the Beverley Brook and Wandle.
At the start of 2020, a new group of volunteer River Restorers came together to learn about natural river processes and how heavily modified waterbodies (such as the Beverley Brook) have been altered over time. These changes stop the natural processes which would usually shape a healthy river ecosystem, leaving us with a degraded river that has few, good habitats for wildlife.
Early in 2019, we carried out a large-scale restoration project along 1.3 km of the Beverley Brook through Wimbledon Common. Our River Restorer volunteers came on board to help us extend the work upstream – this time using people power alone!
We worked together to plan and design the work, ready to deliver as a team in mid-February.
A guest blog written by Jennifer Connelly
According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, there are still an estimated 150,000 to 500,000 UK homes with misconnected drains. Dodgy pipework or old houses with out of date plumbing can cause wastewater to end up in our rivers and seas, creating serious problems for wildlife. So what are drain misconnections, what causes them and how do they affect our environment?
The weather could not have been better for our planting day at Sutton Council’s Denmark Road Offices, writes Charlene Duncan. This planting day was organised to enable staff members to contribute to the new rain garden. Thanks to the hard work of everyone who came out, the rain garden is now complete!
Nearly 30 members of staff volunteered their time to transform the area in front of the building. It was a great chance for staff to meet people from other departments and to socialise with colleagues. Staff members gave what time they could, from 20 minutes to more than three hours! Every contribution was greatly appreciated.
This rain garden is part of our SuDS in Sutton’s Schools project. It demonstrates sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to the schools involved in the project and the wider community. SuDS are measures that divert water from the drains to reduce flood risk and improve the quality of water flowing into our rivers.
By waiting until the autumn to plant up the rain garden, we have increased the new plants’ chances of survival. Planting during this summer’s drought would have meant the plants required a lot of watering. While a bit of watering is still necessary for the newly planted garden, once established, the water from the offices’ downpipes will be all that is needed.
So, a massive thank you to all volunteers who gave up their time. And, an extra thank you for those of you who could not give your time but offered moral support and encouragement on the day. The garden is looking lovely and it’s all down to you.
Now all we need is some rain.
Watch our timelapse video of the rain garden being constructed