Wandle Is A "Most Improved" River

Former sewer is now a popular local spot

The River Wandle, which runs though Wandsworth, has been declared one of the 10 most improved rivers in England and Wales.

A new Environment Agency report has put the Wandle on a list which also includes the River Thames.

The report says of the Wandle: "Historically the river has suffered extreme pollution and was officially declared a sewer in the 1960s.

"But over the last 20 years it has become a vibrant rich habitat due to better environmental regulation, a fish stocking programme and huge local enthusiasm for the river which has resulted in a vast improvement of water quality.

"The Wandle is now well known as one of the best urban coarse fisheries in the country and supports a huge variety of wildlife supporting a wide variety of species including chub, barbel and eel. It has also become a very popular location for walkers.

The improvement has been aided by the work of many volunteers, including the Wandle Trust, which holds community clean-ups of the river on the second Sunday of every month, rotating between the boroughs of Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth.

Ian Barker, Head of Land and Water at the Environment Agency, said: "Work that we have done with farmers, businesses and water companies to reduce the amount of water taken from rivers, minimise pollution and improve water quality is really paying off – as these rivers show. Britain’s rivers are the healthiest for over 20 years and otters, salmon and other wildlife are returning for the first time since the industrial revolution.

"But there is still more to be done, and we have plans to transform a further 9,500 miles of rivers in England and Wales by 2015 – the equivalent of the distance between the UK and Australia."

August 31, 2011