We’ve won Bathing Water Status for a stretch of the Thames that runs through Oxford. It’s only the second place in the whole of the UK to achieve this.

The campaign to stop Thames Water discharging sewage into the river is not just for us swimmers, the anglers and rowers. More important than us humans are the fish and all other wildlife that get sick and even die when bacteria such as E.Coli from sewage and animal manure is released into the water.

Layla Moran MP raised a debate at Westminster in November 2021 to achieve designated Bathing Water Status for two stretches of the river running through Oxford. In January this year I organised a Protest in Oxford. For the initial meeting, four of us sat on straw bales in a community farm shed on a bright, cold Sunday afternoon in January. Two weeks later, on January 23rd, hundreds of people turned up in force on Port Meadow to demonstrate against the illegal dumping of sewage by Thames Water. There were colourful placards and impassioned speeches from many groups dedicated to cleaning up the rivers and waterways. National media coverage helped energise a national consultation which was opened to the public and signed by a record number of people. On April12th, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announced the news that Wolvercote Mill Stream on Port Meadow would be awarded designated Bathing Water Status.

It’s a fantastic achievement and we are grateful to everyone who spoke out and protested that our rivers should and must be clean. Each and every one who did made a difference. Thank you !

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