Have your say on how to improve Great Ouse

editorial image

The Environment Agency is inviting groups working on the River Great Ouse to get involved in deciding how to improve it.

Major urban areas of Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford, St Neots, Huntingdon, Brackley and the North Hertfordshire towns of Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock are served by the river.

Interested organisations and communities from those areas are invited to attend an event at Marston Vale Forest Centre on September 12 to help clarify what the problems are with the river and talk about how to address them.

Some of the issues facing rivers in the area include an increased demand for water with over 80,000 new homes planned.

Rivers are also generally slow flowing and have been heavily modified for land drainage, flood defence and navigation, which decreases habitat and prevents fish from moving freely.

Invasive non-native species, such as signal crayfish and Himalayan balsam in some areas harm native species.

There is also pollution from waste water, such as phosphate and ammonia, and from farming, such as nitrate and sediment, which harms wildlife.

The event, which looks at how organisations and communities can work together to make the river better for everyone. will launch Defra’s Catchment Based Approach.

Mike Nunns, Catchment Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Rivers are the lifeblood of our country. They give us the water we need for our daily lives, and sustain our wildlife. That is why the catchment based approach is so incredibly important.

“It’s a great thing to be in the position to say that our rivers are the healthiest they have been for two decades but we need to do even more to further improve water quality and biodiversity.

“There has been some great work happening in the area already, but we want to bring people together to identify where we can work together to achieve more for the environment.”

The event is planned from 10am to 2.30pm on September 12 at Marston Vale Forest Centre. To find out more email AngCentralComm@environment-agency.gov.uk or call 01480 483025.