South Oxfordshire District Council’s Thames Champion, Cllr Jo Robb, has written a letter to neighbouring councils and user groups inviting them to work together to stop raw sewage from being dumped in the River Thames and its tributaries.
Cllr Robb’s role as Thames Champion is to encourage sustainability and improve access to the river so that everyone can enjoy the River Thames. The ward councillor for Woodcote and Rotherfield, took on the new role in June to tackle water quality concerns and enhance the biodiversity and cleanliness of the river system in the district and beyond.
The district council is investigating ways to obtain Bathing Quality Water status for stretches of the Thames in South Oxfordshire, and asking to work with other councils and local river user groups to campaign for the removal of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) that can discharge untreated human waste into rivers and streams during heavy rainfall or floods.
Cllr Robb said: “As you will be aware, wild swimming, paddling, kayaking and paddle boarding have grown in popularity in recent months and there is increasing concern both locally and nationally about water quality in our inland waterways.
“I would welcome the opportunity to share knowledge, and come together with a united voice to call for accurate, real-time, publicly available information on CSOs and for a change to national policy to ensure proper investment in our sewerage infrastructure and the elimination of CSOs so that our rivers are clean and safe for all.”
Cllr Robb is keen to hear from anybody with ideas or suggestions on how sustainability and biodiversity at the river could be improved, and how the river could be made easier to access for the public. Her email address is Jo.Robb@southoxon.gov.uk