Speak Up For Our River!

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Did you know that Thames Water dumps raw sewage into the Thames for tens of thousands of hours every year and in Henley alone, it dumped raw sewage at Friday Street and Fawley for 400 hours in 2021?

Who are Henley Mermaids?

The Henley Mermaids are a group of local open water swimmers have been raising awareness of the scandal of sewage dumped into the River Thames and its tributaries, spending the summer swimming from the swimmable source of the Thames near Cricklade to their home in Henley, raising money for Surfers Against Sewage along the way.

So why isn’t there legislation preventing sewage pollution in our rivers?

In October 2021, government voted down a House of Lords amendment to the Environment Bill which would have imposed tougher targets on sewage pollution. MPs instead voted for measures that rivers campaigners say actually weaken the law. Clean water and nature targets announced this year have been criticised for lacking ambition – in some cases, discharging raw sewage into water courses will be legal until 2050! 

Government is failing on nature and climate, it’s vital we hold them to account and speak up for our rivers. We need our rivers to be clean not just for us to swim in, but to support all aquatic life – indeed to help it thrive!

Come along to Speak Up for our River!

Henley Mermaids are finishing their challenge by swimming the final stretch of the river on Saturday, 5 November, under Henley’s iconic bridge, to Red Lion Lawn, opposite the Relais Hotel. They will be joined in the water by members of the Henley Open Water Swimming Club.

Greener Henley will be joining the Mermaids and other groups on the riverbank at Red Lion Lawn at 9am, Saturday 5 November, to raise our voices for our river – please join us!

We have a fantastic line up of speakers including the Mayor of Henley, Reverend Jeremy Taylor, Ash Smith from Windrush Against Sewage Pollution, Mark Hull from the Oxford Rivers Improvement Campaign, Kate Oldridge of Greener Henley, Lynne Lambourne from Warriors on Waste and Cllr Jo Robb, South Oxfordshire District Council.

As well as speakers there will be refreshments, unveiling of a Blue Plaque and prizes for best costumes and banners! Marshalls will guide people to the bridge for a photo shoot and for the unveiling of the plaque. Please join us to stand against this unsolicited dumping of sewage in our rivers.

Register your interest here, or just come along – 9am, Saturday 5 November 2022, Red Lion Lawn (opposite the Relais, next to Henley Bridge).

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