Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07
Roving-Crows1
JazzFestSat572
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
George-Wilding-301
Torch-2012-05-23093-
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09------30
SBJ
Landscape
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Musical-Time-Machine5
Inbox-1
White-Horse
Sunset
Animals06
Camilla-MSM
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
FROSTY-MORNING-
4MI-2013-11-28030
MYFC005
Brazier
Civic-Service-18
D4S0472
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
Big-Bull
TdB-Pewsey044
Brooks-Williams1
Remebrance-18-3
YELLOWHAMMER-473-
MBORO-HOCKEY-YOUTH-473
Hares017cropped
D4S9273
Ogbourne
Camilla-2012-10-19152
Turin-Brakes6
Pete-Gage-Band1
Remebrance-18-1
EARLY-MORNING-CANTER-473-
IMG9097
Sunset2
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
D812668
Snowy-High-Street
BABRURY-XC-JUMP-473
Gordon-and-Sam
Mop-Fair---10-10-09------08
Scouting-for-Girls7
Duke-of-Kent086
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
IMG8472
Inbox2
Remebrance-18-2
Tina-May5

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Claire Perry backs ARK in its river rescue mission for the endangered Kennet

She zipped up her wellies and waded into the water for  a morning paddle, as the cameras clicked and the experts watched.

There may have been an odd fish here , a black coot there and some elegantly growing yellow irisis on the bankside.

But what Claire Perry, Marlborough’s 47-year-old Tory MP, was witnessing was one of England’s rare chalk streams in trouble, the River Kennet at a trickle, its low water level at danger point.

And though she praised the work of Action River Kennet in transforming the kilometre-long section of the river as it flows under Stonebridge Lane bridge, in Marlborough, which she visited on Friday, the signals are at red.

In fact growing numbers of people are worried about the dual concerns of continued massive water extraction by Thames Water at Axford, to serve Swindon’s residents, and the dramatic lack of rain to maintain the river flow.

Looking at the 15-acre Stonebridge Meadow project, a combined operation with Marlborough Town Council, Mrs Perry declared: “What is being been done here is really impressive, quite wonderful.

“Rivers are incredible natural resources. And chalk streams like the Kennet are rather rare. We have them only here, in New Zealand and in northern France.”

But she warned: “The trouble is that the abstraction doesn’t change, no matter what is happening to the rivers. It’s just an extraordinary situation. I just think we have a huge timing problem.

“We may be running too late and a lot of damage can be done to the river. The Kennet could be dry by the summer.”

Trained geographer Charlotte Hitchmough, the director of ARK, who lives at Manton, pointed out that the current situation matched the period that preceded the 1976 drought.

“The river does bounce back but it takes a long time to do so. And flowers like the white water crowfoot – a sea of them is a classic scene for chalk streams – are only getting going if you have a strong flow during the winter. So there’s nothing on which the fish can feed.

“And so the problem works its way up the food chain. The lack of flowers is a warning sign. Even water crayfish are affected. They are such strong animals that if there is nothing else to eat they will start eating each other.”

That means there is no chance of ARK re-stocking the river and introducing fishing to youngsters while so much water is hijacked elsewhere.

Mrs Perry, who admitted that she had once caught a trout – in Colorado – does have a direct interest in rivers, as her home outside Salisbury is on the banks of the River Ebble, which sometimes floods her garden.

Now she has joined forces with a group of MPs with similar river problems in their constituencies. They are lobbying nearby Newbury MP Richard Benyon, the Defra minister, who has promised a White Paper on dealing with water problems, especially in light of climate change.

“I think it will come early autumn,” said Mrs Perry. “There is lots and lots of proper thinking going on in his department. They want to do it right and not just make platitudinous noises.

“He really cares about this problem. So our group of MPs is working really hard to say this is a common problem for all of us and needs to be tackled.”

Print Email

Animals06
Ogbourne
Tina-May5
Landscape
SBJ
Mop-Fair---10-10-09---08
D4S0472
Sunset
Turin-Brakes6
JazzFestSat572
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
Torch-2012-05-23093-
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
Gordon-and-Sam
Big-Bull
Duke-of-Kent086
Remebrance-18-1
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
Brooks-Williams1
TdB-Pewsey044
Roving-Crows1
Snowy-High-Street
Hares017cropped
Camilla-MSM
Pete-Gage-Band1
D4S9273
Scouting-for-Girls7
D812668
Sunset2
4MI-2013-11-28030
Brazier
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08---07
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
George-Wilding-301
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Civic-Service-18
ARKManton-2012-01-1449-
IMG8472
Musical-Time-Machine5
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09---30
Camilla-2012-10-19152
CivicSelfie1
IMG9097
MYFC005
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Remebrance-18-2
White-Horse
Remebrance-18-3