More news...

Dec 12, 2020
Category: General
Posted by: Kathryn

Thames Water have discovered significant volumes of groundwater getting into their sewer network in Chesham. 

Nov 23, 2020
Category: Wildlife
Posted by: Kathryn

Your comments on the Lord's Mill planning application to could help bring trout back to Chesham town centre. 

Sep 27, 2020
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn
Affinity Water have ended abstraction from their two pumping stations above Chesham.
Mar 16, 2020
Category: General
Posted by: Kathryn
If you'd like to write to the authorities about the on-going sewage pollution in the Chess, we've created a template letter for you to adapt.

Latest News

Speak up for Fish

Nov 23, 2020

Category: Wildlife
Posted by: Kathryn

A planned development at the Lord’s Mill site in Chesham has big implications for the river and its ecology. You can find the application on the Bucks Council Planning Portal by searching for PL/20/1646/FA:
 
Lord Mill weir
Above: The remnants of Lord's Mill (photo taken prior to a site clear up earlier in 2020)
 
The plan initially included the creation of a fish pass on the old weir structure, which is something that we at the RCA have long wanted to see at the site. However, a Weir Review Assessment was submitted by the developers last month (you can view it under Documents associated with the application) which shows they have changed their mind and no longer want to put in a fish pass. Below, we outline the reasons why a fish pass is so important. If you think it’s important too, we’d really appreciate it if you could submit a comment on the planning portal in support of the inclusion of the fish pass. 
 
  • The re-establishment of fish populations in the Upper Chess in Chesham has been a key driver of local organisations, including the River Chess Association and the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project
  • Under the 2019 Water Framework Directive assessment, the Chess is failing for fish.
  • The Lord’s Mill site is a key bottleneck for the upper Chess and so is of immense ecological importance. The structures in the river prevent the migration of fish both up- and downstream.
  • The recent abstraction reductions by Affinity Water and planned reductions by Thames Water in the catchment should improve the sustainability of flows in the upper river, enabling it to once again support a fish population - but only if there is a fish pass at Lord’s Mill enabling fish movement.
  • The upper stretches of the river do dry out. It is hoped that the abstraction reductions will reduce the frequency of drying events, but it is crucial that the fish pass is in place to enable fish to migrate downstream to find water during a drying event, and that they can recolonise the upper Chess once flow returns. 
  • The Ecology Report by Arbtech Consulting fails to identify that the river is a globally rare chalk stream and underestimates the importance of the site to the ecology of the river. It makes no mention of fish at all, nor of water voles. The Chess population of water voles is one of only two populations in Buckinghamshire and thanks to a Water Vole Recovery Project, water voles have now recolonised Chesham to within 100m of the Lord’s Mill site. 
  • Buckinghamshire Council are planning works immediately upstream of Lord’s Mill, which will further improve the river habitat.
  • The fish pass has already been designed, will not be expensive to build and will improve the look and function of the site.

 

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