Monday 17 December 2012

Local people join debate to shape the future of our rivers

On the 26th November I promoted an important meeting that was about to be held by the Arun and Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) to discuss the management of the Arun catchment.

The event actually took place on 6th December and was a great success.

Hosted by ARRT, the Arun and Rother Connections (ARC) Partnership and the South Downs National Park Authority, the event provided an opportunity for people to learn more about the catchment. It was an open event, held over two sessions at Pulborough Village Hall which encouraged people from within and around the catchment to debate and discuss their concerns for the rivers and streams, the different ways of managing them and to identify funding possibilities and opportunities for working together.

Sir Sebastian Anstruther, Chairman of the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust, said of the event: “I’m delighted that so many people took the time to attend our event, which shows just how important our rivers and streams are to people living in and around the catchment. “It was great to hear views from a range of people who work or live by the water - farmers, landowners, anglers and those who just enjoy living in and around them.

“Our local rivers are precious and important for our economy, health, well-being, leisure and for the wider environment, but they are under increasing threat. By working together we can develop a clear vision for a rich and thriving river system and the views, contacts and discussions from this recent revent will help us shape how we do that. We will continue to keep local people informed and involved as we progress with our work.”

I went to the evening session and was delighted (although not surprised) by the positive attitude by all in the room.  I am lucky in that I live in the area as well - so it is my home-patch.  The meeting helped confirm my long-held belief that if you get real people in a room talking about real issues in their local patch then it is not too difficult to get a consensus - no matter what sector or special interest group people feel they come from.

A good day, and congratulations to all who organised it.

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