27 MARCH 2014

Summary of actions from the meeting

  1. FWR to contact Dawn Greening-Steer (EA) to obtain aerial photos of recent flooding along the Pang (arranged by Dick G). Put on website.

  2. Previously suggested that the group should send the options appraisal document to Richard Aylard to try and get Thames Water buy-in to the catchment. Action: Graham O to make an approach, plus Dave W who meets with Richard Aylard on 30 April.

  3. Maxine F to update Steering Group list of members on FWR website.

  4. At present, no Natural England rep on the group. Action: Alison L to ask NE colleagues who are now based in RKH.

  5. Lower Middle Thames sub-catchment: Neil T has sorted the extensive OA document into high/medium/low cost works and who owns what. Action: all are invited to provide comments back to Neil.

  6. Lower Middle Thames: It was proposed that we could get something going in the Withymead area similar to the Earth Trust initiative at Little Wittenham. Action: Alison L to explore with Lizzie Rhymes (EA) who is involved with the Earth Trust.

  7. More representation was needed on the Steering Group from councils, whether county, district or parish. Action: suggestions made were Stuart Clarke and Hilary Cole of West Berkshire council; FWR will contact W Berks DC, S Oxon DC, and Bucks CC.

  8. Throughout the meeting various sewage discharges were mentioned. Action: Graham O will take comments back to internal contacts at Thames Water.

  9. Action: Alison L to arrange a meeting of ‘local’ catchment hosts.

  10. Consenting – On the back of helping landowners with consenting and regulation, it may be possible to obtain funding for projects. Action: Tom O/Alison L/Lesley S will discuss issues. Action: Tom O to give a short presentation on consenting at the next meeting.

  11. Outstanding actions from last meeting:

    1. Dick G asked how to get involved with the ‘Love Your River’ campaign. Ross A to check with Karen Parker to see if anyone involved with ‘Love your River’ campaign.
    2. Ross A & Jenni B to check if Little Marlow Lakes are a WFD waterbody.
    3. Ross A to get an update about Marlow HEP scheme (for Mike O).Action: Alison L will cover these.

  12. Date of next meeting of overall steering group: Late September 2014. Dates for next sub-catchment meetings: June 2014.

Summary of main points from the meeting

  1. Alison L presented an update on the EA’s Challenges and Choices consultation.

  2. The EA’s Options Appraisal documents (with all costs calculated) will be submitted to government mid-April.

  3. Neil T gave an update on Defra funding for catchment hosts in 2014/15.

  4. Summaries of the sub-catchment meetings were given.
    • Pang: meeting of landowners and EA will be held as soon as the Pang levels drop. The catchment walkover by Vaughan Lewis provides much of the detail for future projects and improvements. Sally W has asked for a part-time project officer to handle catchment based approach projects (funding for this is being explored). Noted that W Berks Countryside Society has a good team of willing volunteers to undertake project work. Proposed that a ‘river week’ should be arranged similar to that held on the Wye in Nov 2013 (the week could made varied with guided walks and talks - perhaps use Rushall Manor Farm for the latter).
    • Wye: Many barriers to fish along the Wye and the Hughenden Stream. Wild Trout Trust survey provides information on structures along the river and therefore ideas for future work. A lottery bid is being submitted for various projects on these watercourses. If this were to be successful, the Chiltern Society would receive and handle the funding. Deculverting the Wye in High Wycombe town centre – a long term, expensive goal. WDC are keen on this. Would the National Trust be willing to fund some work on weirs on the Hughenden Stream? ‘Friends of the Wye’ group is being established. Meeting held on 5 March. Mike O will keep us updated.
    • Lower Middle Thames: recognised that this is a complex area with many diverse interests. Need a plan for the whole of this sub-catchment. Neil T has sorted the extensive OA document into high/medium/low cost works and who owns what, and is awaiting comments. Land adjacent to the Withymead NR is being sold by Oxford University – we need to progress this with further information from Keith Tomey. It was proposed that we could get something going in the Withymead area similar to the Earth Trust initiative at Little Wittenham. Lizzie Rhymes (EA) is involved with the EA’s River of Life and Earth Trust collaboration. Chris Parker (Head of Land Management at Earth Trust) contact details:

  5. Dick G pointed out that there is a great deal of information in the archives at the EA, Kings Meadow House, Reading.
Attendees: Maxine Forshaw (MF) Foundation for Water Research
Neil Tyler (NT) Foundation for Water Research
Alison Love (AL) Environment Agency
Lesley Sproat Environment Agency
Dave Wales (DW) Thame Fisheries Consultative
Graham Osborn Thames Water
Tom Ormesher (TO) NFU
Johnny Johnston (JJ) Royal Yachting Association
Dick Greenaway (DG) West Berkshire Countryside Society
Brian Connorton (BC) West Berkshire Countryside Society

Apologies: Jenni Balmer Environment Agency
Mike Overall (MO) Revive The Wye & The Chiltern Society
Sally Wallington (SW) West Berkshire Farming & Countryside Project
Giles Strother Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust
Allen Beechey (AB) Chiltern Chalk Stream Project
Henry Oliver (HO) North Wessex Downs AONB
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