As a passionate conservationist, I take a deep interest in our natural environment, fully recognising the importance of ensuring clean and healthy rivers - both locally and nationally.
I share residents' concern about the condition of the River Windrush, and have been working on this issue for some time.
It is important that we understand on a scientific basis, through a thorough investigation with independence, what it is causing the apparent decline in water quality in order to effectively combat it.
I have therefore been calling on Thames Water to fund an independent investigation into the health of the Windrush.
I am pleased to report that, in July 2020, Thames Water accepted my recommendation and commissioned an investigation into the river. The investigation will be undertaken by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), an independent, not-for-profit research institute with expertise in the research of water quality.
I hope that this thorough scientific study will enable us to establish whether there has been a decline in the health of the Windrush and, if indeed there has been, to understand precisely what is causing it so that appropriate and effective action can be taken.
I am also engaging closely with the Evenlode Catchment Partnership on matters relating to that river. I will continue to work with our local environmental groups, Defra, the Environment Agency and Thames Water to ensure we protect and enhance all our local rivers.