Thames Water Unveils Improvements To River Thame Fish Habitat

New life will be returned to the River Thame this Thursday (17th April, 2008) as Thames Water unveils major environmental improvements aimed at benefiting the local fish habitat, restoring and improving its health following a pollution incident in 2002.

Parliamentary Spokesperson for Angling, Martin Salter MP, will declare works on the river complete and welcome the arrival of new wildlife into the river with representatives of the Thame Valley Fisheries Preservation Consultative and the Environment Agency.

A £250,000 project has enhanced just under a mile (1.5km) of a popular public fishing location along the River Thame, through the grounds of Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury. Over the coming years 20,000 new fish will be reintroduced into the river with the assistance of the Environment Agency.

Martin Salter MP, Parliamentary spokesperson for Angling said:
"Whilst any pollution incident is to be regretted I am pleased that Thames Water is making such a significant contribution towards improving the fish stocks and spawning grounds of this lovely little river. This project is giving Mother Nature a helping hand."

Thames Water's Director for Sustainability, Richard Aylard said:
"We believe this will make a tremendous contribution to the health of the river and add to the enjoyment gained by its many users. This project demonstrates the importance Thames Water places on our responsibility to the environment."

A number of new features have been incorporated into the enhancements to the river. Fish will have the benefit of new spawning grounds and refuge channels to protect and encourage breeding. Five gravel bedded riffles have been created to encourage diversification of fish species and provide spawning sites.

Local plant and wildlife will also benefit from the improvement, with new areas to stimulate growth and nurture creatures such as water voles. The enhancements will enable and foster up-stream fish migration, which has not been possible for over 120 years.

Fish introduced into the river will include: chub, roach, bream, perch and gudgeon. They will be released gradually into the river under the supervision of the Environment Agency.

The project has been joint initiative involving Thames Water, the Environment Agency, the Thame Valley Fisheries Preservation Consultative, Waddesdon Estate and the Ernest Cooke Trust, and follows a pollution incident at Aylesbury sewage treatment works in 2002 which damaged the river habitat downstream. Since then efficiency and water quality discharge standards from the sewage works have been vastly improved enabling enhancements to the river to be undertaken.

From left: Sally Coble (Environment Agency), Dave Wales (Thame Valley Fisheries Preservation Consultative), Eddie Eastern (Thames Water Project Manager), George Bateman (local angler), Martin Salter MP, John Colton (MD of Kingcombe Aquacare), Edward Parsons (Waddesdon Estates Manager)