RTS in Action
Volunteers working at Bondig Bank
Meetings, group activities and the Annual General Meeting have all been held.
Our Events page has details on RTS meetings and other activities.
Our volunteers are active at our nature reserve at Bondig Bank, Marlow. Our River Wardens are walking their stretch of river and our volunteers will be present at any ‘River Thames’ events organised along the whole length of the river.
The RTS Council met at the Thames Side Brewery, Staines–upon–Thames on 24th February 2022.
Items covered included :
• The resignation of Vice- Chairman ( Non-Tidal) Les Jones was noted with regret and he was thanked for his many years of service to the Society.
• The Financial Statement & Trustees’ Report 2020-21 was endorsed and recommended to the Society’s AGM for approval.
• The Honorary Treasurer reported on the search for a suitable card machine for sales and membership applications at events and difficulties experienced by some branches with their accounts due to the introduction of charges for charities.
• The Administrator noted that membership continues to trend upwards with RTS more visible through social media and leaflet/magazine placings at venues in Oxford and the River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames.
• Reports about on-going issues including removal of floating pennywort, the Environment Agency’s accommodation & licensing policy, the Port of London Authority’s Harbour Revision Order, blockage of a slipway in Henley, a dispute between Elmbridge District Council and a houseboat owner over a mooring.
The Chairman welcomed the appointment of the new Thames Path Manager , the respective roles of RTS River Wardens and Thames Path Volunteers were discussed , as were arrangements for the AGM on 23rd April..
In celebration of the Society’s 60th it was agreed a boat trip for members should be organised in the Summer.
Peter Finch, Chairman
In August 2021, RTS Upper Tideway Branch Chairman Hilary Pereira prepared a summary of the situation which was updated in October 2021. Read it here.
Port of London Harbour Revision Order Consultation. RTS Response
On August 18th 2021, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) started its formal consultation on a draft Port of London Authority (PLA) Harbour Revision Order (HRO). The HRO is intended to modernise the Port of London Act 1968, under which the PLA operates. It takes into account the nature of modern operations and technology in use on the river today and the continued evolution of the PLA as a modern, transparent organisation.
The River Thames Society has submitted this response to the consultation.
Thames Vision 2050. RTS Response
This public consultation was conducted by the Port of London Authority. In July 2021, The River Thames Society submitted this response to a series of consultation questions
RTS has long campaigned against pollution in the river and will continue to do so until there is an end to these totally unacceptable sewage discharges.
The water companies have a basic responsibility to prevent the spills and the Environment Agency needs more teeth and resources, which must be provided by the Government.
RTS supported the concept of the Tideway Tunnel from the outset and is now pleased that it is nearing completion, which will mean the vast majority of combined sewage overflows will go into it for storage pending treatment, ending the scandal of discharges into the tidal Thames.
However, some sources of pollution will remain on the tideway as they still do on the non-tidal river as recent well-publicised incidents have demonstrated.
We will continue to press for action by Government and the companies responsible to prioritise investment in sewage works, improve monitoring procedures and set targets for the eradication of sewage spills.
RTS River Wardens
The volunteer wardens undertake to walk beside the river at intervals throughout the year, and to report on any problems that they see.
Problems with the condition of the Thames Path (signs, potholes, broken gates, etc) are reported to the National Trails Office or other responsible authorities. Fallen trees that might be blocking the river and sources of pollution to the river are reported to the Environment Agency or the Port of London Authority.
Most wardens take a plastic bag with them to pick up litter on their walks. Some of the reaches are trouble free and stay in good repair - so the warden's report is simply to say that all is well. Some wardens like to tell us about the good things that they see on their reaches e.g. interesting birds or plants, improvements to the Thames Path, facilities for visitors or boats.
The warden duties are entirely voluntary, so we all act in our own ways. A few who live beside the river combine the wardenship with a daily walk. Others live at a distance from the river and being a warden is an additional reason for a riverside walk.
The wardens on the non-tidal reaches work in partnership with National Trails volunteers and there is always a need for additional volunteers to help tackle some of the tasks involved in keeping the Thames path safe and enjoyable. If you would be interested in assisting with this work or finding out more about practical conservation activities please contact the Thames National Trails office, 01865 810224, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Thames Path
The River Thames Society has played an important role in the development of the Thames Path. In 2021, the 25th anniversary of creation of the Thames Path was celebrated. This short document summarises the development.
River Thames Society Grants
RTS is able to consider applications for funding from river-related organisations . Resources will restrict amounts available but , as can be seen from this list, we are sometimes able to help with a wide range of projects connected to the Thames.
In the first iinstance, contact our Administrator, Helen Batten.
River Warden Co-ordinators: (non-tidal Thames)
Chairmen of the Upper Thames, Middle Thames and Teddington to Old Windsor RTS Branches.
River Warden Co-ordinator (Tidal Thames)
Peter Finch: email Sailor1057@aol.com
Phone: 0208 969 9941/ 07711 419772
RTS owns a waterman's cutter Thames Guardian built by our Vice President Mark Edwards MBE at Richmond Bridge Boathouses. Bought in 2000 as a Millennium project the boat takes part in the annual Great Race Race, other races and ceremonial events on the river. The cutter is available for use by other organisations and we are especially keen to see young people introduced to fixed-seat rowing. Further information from Barge Master Roy Miller.
Events along the River Thames
RTS volunteers regularly participate in events held along the whole length of the Thames. This gives us an opportunity to publicise our activities and to recruit new members.
Monitoring and responding to Planning Applications
The Chairman of each of our five branches is responsible for reviewing and responding to planning applications in close proximity to their section of the River Thames.
In September 2020, RTS submitted a response to Water Resources South East concerning their 2050 Water Resources Management Plan.