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River Dour clean-up, Kent

Every year, a small team from our Dour Community join other enthusiastic volunteers to help clean up the River Dour in Dover and make sure that its banks and bed are clean and litter free.

Wearing waders and using litter pickers, the volunteers clean several sections of the river. They fish out branches and other debris that accumulate in rivers, and also unsightly rubbish left by fly tippers. The clean-ups, which are organised by White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (WCCP) and led by WCCP Dour Partnership Officer, take around 30 bags of rubbish from the river and its banks on the day.

WCCP staff said: “It’s essential to keep the river clean and the volunteers do a great job. If we didn’t have regular clean-ups then the water wouldn’t remain as clear as it is and an important chalk river habitat would be lost.

“We can now see brown trout breeding well in the Dour, showing that we have a healthy river that can support a wide range of wildlife. It’s thanks to the volunteers’ great efforts that the habitat’s restoration work can continue year on year.”

An Affinity Water volunteer said that he was surprised at the range of rubbish dumped in the river. He said: “It was everything from bicycles to bedsprings. If the river wasn’t regularly cleaned up then it would soon become unsightly and it’s a pity that people don’t take a moment to think before dumping their rubbish in it.

“When you work every day with water you realise the importance of our rivers and springs. The Dour is the only river in the area and we need to make sure it remains in good shape.”

Another volunteer added: “The Dour clean-up is part of our community engagement /volunteering activity that’s historically happened in the Southeast and which we’re looking to increase across the business. It’s ideal for us to take part. Not only is it local, but it gives us a good opportunity to meet our customers – many people stop and talk to the volunteers during the day to find out what’s happening and there’s great support and appreciation for the cleaning.”

Affinity Water has worked with WCCP in the Southeast for more than ten years, and historically the tasks have been either on Affinity Water land (managing biodiversity) or in key areas which benefit the community. The area that WCCP cover mirrors our supply area in the Southeast, and they have a programme of volunteer activities throughout the year which anyone is welcome to attend.

Find out more about WCCP

East Kent Catchment Improvement Partnership

Background

The East Kent Catchment Improvement Partnership (CIP) followed on from the East Kent Catchment Improvement Group (CIG) with funding made available from DEFRA in winter 2013/14 to develop the partnership. The East Kent CIG was initiated and administered by the Environment Agency, the first meeting being in August 2011. The CIP follows an integrated catchment based approach to deliver the Water Framework Directive objectives.

Geographic coverage

Many of the challenges facing our water environment are best understood and tackled at a catchment level – the Catchment-Based Approach (CaBA). There are 93 catchments in England. The Water Framework Directive Management Catchment covered by this partnership is the Stour Catchment, within the South East River Basin. The East Kent CIP includes the catchments of the River Stour, Dour and Oyster Coast Brooks, North & South Streams and the Chislet Marshes. This incorporates parts of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Maidstone, Shepway, Swale and Thanet local authorities.

Strategic Vision

The East Kent CIP brings together partners to work collaboratively, applying the catchment-based approach, to improve the health of surface and groundwater bodies. The collective Strategic Vision of the Partnership is:

  • We will work together to ensure the health (quality) of water bodies (surface and ground) in East Kent is continually improved so that by 2027 they are all ‘Good’ status / potential as required by the Water Framework Directive. In the short term, we will collaborate to ensure that none of our rivers are ‘Bad’ status / potential by 2015
  • The aim of the East Kent Catchment Improvement Group is to improve the local water environment so that there are multiple benefits including: more wildlife habitat, to protect water abstractions (surface water and groundwater), reduce flood risk, promote sustainable farming, as well as tourism; better recreation opportunities, cleaner bathing beaches; lower water bill rises and a better chance to adapt to climate change
  • The partnership also aspires to involve local organisations, communities and businesses in the identification of realistic, sustainable solutions, securing funding and carrying out agreed actions
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