British Rowing Launch Sustainability Strategy at Museum

British Rowing launched their Environmental Sustainable Strategy at the River & Rowing Museum last Wednesday in partnership with river campaigners River Action, The Rivers Trust and Aquascope to clean up the nation’s rivers.

With 90% of British Rowing members considering sustainability to be important, British Rowing is looking forward to working with their new partners, the rowing community and the nation as a whole to champion a cleaner, bluer future.

Steve O’Connor, Director at the River & Rowing Museum welcomed everyone to the event.  He said, “We’re also about to launch our strategy next month for the next three years and hosting a debate on healthy rivers is an absolute key pillar of what we want to try and do.  So an event like today where we can be the site that organisations come to talk about how we can affect our waterways is just vital and an absolute honour for us to play our small part in it.”

Imogen Grant, World Champion, Olympian and The Rivers Trust ambassador said, “The specific things that affect us as rowers reflect the wider problems that are affecting rivers nationwide. For me, as a sportsperson, I am really excited at the potential of bringing about massive change – working towards a long-term goal in small, achievable steps.  In February we had a sustainability group carry out water testing at Caversham Lake and look at how we could make it cleaner.”

James Wallace, CEO of River Action said, “We are in a freshwater emergency that demands urgent action. Our rivers are in crisis, dying at the hands of poorly regulated polluters including the water companies and industrial-scale agriculture. That’s why we are proud to partner with British Rowing to help clean up the nation’s rivers. This will involve training rowers, including Olympic medal hopefuls gearing up for the summer games in Paris, to conduct water quality testing that will help us understand the risks to human health and the extent of the problem we face. Together with British Rowing, we will be supporting rowers and communities to pressure polluters and the Government to act with urgency.”

Mark Lloyd, CEO of The Rivers Trust said, “Our recent report highlights the desperate state of our rivers and the threat that places on a thriving future. We are delighted to join forces with British Rowing to add the voice of the elite rowers and the community of rowing clubs across the country to our Rivers Trust movement. Working together, Rivers Trusts in every catchment across the country can use the support of local rowing clubs to help improve their local environment, to tackle sources of litter, pollution, invasive species and to restore healthy and vibrant rivers for everyone to enjoy.”

Earthwatch have been providing the testing water quality kits.  Steven Andrews said, “We’re super passionate about citizen science.  It is a great way to engage and educate about the issues.  Local swimmer and citizen scientist Dave Wallace spoke about how he got involved after swimming around sewage.  He said, “I was worried to see what I physically saw.  The community has been incredible but the results have been devastating.  Every day overflow sewage is hitting the river.”

Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hodge, now CEO at Aquascope who will provide modelling and monitoring large-scale water resources said, “We need better data, so we can use the data to make better day to day decisions.”

You can read more about the British Rowing Sustainability Strategy here https://www.britishrowing.org/sustainability/

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