Published date 03rd Sep 2021

Expertise flows into the Chew Valley as Metro Mayor learns about healthier river project

Dan Norris with his dog and a man in a field

West of England Metro Mayor and Chew Valley resident Dan Norris and his dog Angel took a walk along the bank of the River Chew to learn about measures to protect this famous West of England waterway.

The Mayor, who lives near Pensford, saw at first hand where a series of new measures will make the river healthier and more able to adapt to climate change.

Keen walker Mr Norris and his cocker spaniel were joined by river expert and CEO of Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, Simon Hunter, who is overseeing ‘River Chew Reconnected’, a funded project which will use over £97,000 to deliver a series of important improvements.

The project includes planting some 2,000 trees and shrubs close to the riverbank and creating several small ponds to reduce surface water run-off which can cause flooding in times of heavy rain. The ponds also help encourage a more diverse range of species by improving the riverside habitat.

There will also be work to engage with and educate local people, including in schools, so they can take action to help protect their river.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Many local people still recall the huge destruction caused by the great flood of July 1968 when 6.8 inches of rain fell in the Chew Valley area in just over six hours. Bridges like Pensford, Publow and Woollard took the brunt of the flood damage with Keynsham seeing tragedy when three people in a car were killed after it was swept off Bath Hill bridge.

“These terrible events were decades before talk about climate change became commonplace. Today, Chew Valley residents are rightly proud and protective of their beautiful and irreplaceable environment. They value the River Chew and want to play an active part ensuring it continues to thrive.

“The Code Red climate emergency makes our task more urgent, and it’s good that this Bristol Avon Rivers Trust project includes work to support local residents and school students to take steps to help look after it.”

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