I RECENTLY revealed that the River Thames had won a prestigious international conservation award – the Thiess prize – as the world’s best cared-for river because of the way the quality of the water has been improved over the past fifty years or so.
Well, to prove that there are bound to be contradictory opinions on just about any subject, the Thames has now been voted the worst – and the second best – river in England and Wales.
The river came bottom in a survey by the Our Rivers campaign backed by the RSPB, the UK branch of the World Wildlife Fund, the Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association.
But it also made it into second place in the list of people’s favourite waterways! Top of the list was the River Wye, which runs along the English-Welsh border.
Our Rivers campaigner Ralph Underhill said: “The Thames was voted the worst river – but the strength of public opinion on both sides clearly indicates that it has a special place in the public’s heart.
“It is under a great deal of pressure due to the sheer number of people who live alongside it and it faces threats from sewage discharge, run off pollution from city streets and weirs and flood defences which block fish movements.”
It’s certainly true that there is still far too much raw sewage being allowed to flow into the Thames – particularly in the lower reaches – and I for one fully support the ‘super sewer’ project, which will hopefully finally put an end to the problem.
The 20-mile (32km) Thames Tunnel would run from west to east London, broadly following the route of the river, collecting sewage discharge triggered by rainfall and preventing it from entering the Thames.
It won’t be cheap – a cost of £3.6bn has been mentioned – but that’s the price we have to pay for ignoring our sewage treatment infrastructure for too long…
MY piece about the amphibious tanks has jogged the memory of one reader who contacted me with this wonderful picture of his uncle, Jack Noakes, alongside one of the Carden Loyd tanks at the Chertsey factory. Jack, who lived in Addlestone, is believed to have been the chief tester for the company – it was his job to ensure that each vehicle matched its specification before it left the factory. And apparently, that involved a lot of driving around on Chobham Common. (Must have been interesting for folk walking their dogs in the area!)
Jack is second from the left in the photo – does anyone recognise the others standing beside the tank?
I MET a wonderful man this week who has painted all 110 bridges over the Thames in oils. Doug Myers from Weybridge, started his mammoth project in 1996 and it took him 10 years to complete. The paintings are quite exquisite catching the many moods of the Thames along its entire course. Doug is an architectural designer who says he enjoys painting because it is a relief from drawing straight lines.
I can thoroughly recommend a look at his website, which contains copies of all the paintings – www.dougmyers.co.uk.