Annual Report for 2010
This year QWAG started working its way back to the kind of levels of activity it enjoyed before the untimely death of our Chair, Ray Manchester, on 16 July 2009. Both established and newly active members have worked to honour Ray's memory by sustaining momentum and setting a new direction.
QWAG started raising its sights by working to the QWAG 2010+ plan approved by members at the 2010 AGM. This annual report outlines these activities which include popular participatory events such as bat walks and river clean ups and work to influence decisions by local authorities and others which may affect the River Quaggy and river corridor.
To start the year it was encouraging for QWAG by being recognised by the Government as 'a great example of environmental action'. By the year end QWAG had carried out many of the tasks it undertook up to July 2009. There is more to do to attract and involve more members to fulfil QWAG's aims.
Inspiring Events In May, Dave Larkin, QWAG's own 'batman', led members on QWAG's inaugural 'bat walk' in Sutcliffe Park, Greenwich, where QWAG-inspired river restoration and flood alleviation had been completed in 2005. The evening walk marked the start of QWAG's Green City Bat project to explore how well local restored rivers support biodiversity and key species such as bats. London Bat Group's Jason Cunningham joined the walk to explain bat behaviour. Pipistrelle and Soprano bats were seen circling for insects, with a brief visit of a large Noctule bat, a rare sight in London. Dave ran a follow up bat walk in Sutcliffe Park in September.
In June, Julia Grollman and Matthew Blumler planned and ran two popular river clean ups as part of QWAG's contribution to the second annual 3 Rivers Clean Up (3RCU). The fortnight of events with Thames 21 and many others aims to maintain local rivers by removing invasive plants (Himalayan balsam) and rubbish. 30 members of the public joined 17 QWAG members over two weekends (6th and 13th June) to remove 90 bin bags worth of balsam and 50 large bin bags of litter and assorted rubbish plus lots of scrap metal. Thanks in particular to Matthew for his considerable leadership coordinating the whole fortnight of events as well as QWAG's two clean ups. Pictures from the 3CRU.
Influencing Decisions During 2010 QWAG continued to track relevant planning applications likely to affect the river environment and engaged in strategic decisions about the future of the area including: Core Strategy Early in 2010 QWAG submitted a comprehensive response to Lewisham Council's draft Core Strategy, the overarching strategy for the future of the borough including the role of rivers and local environment, and how and where development should take place.In responding to the draft QWAG observed the many welcome positive policies in the draft strategy on the role of rivers but advised that these alone would be insufficient to make rivers a distinctive feature of the borough. In particular, the opportunity was not taken in the strategy to make the most of the confluence of the Quaggy and Ravensbourne rivers at Lewisham town centre. Here QWAG would like to see town centre regeneration lead to the full and proper restoration of the rivers, which would be unique to a London town centre. Public hearings on the core strategy will be held in February 2011.
Communications In March the local press reported the Government's praise for QWAG as 'a great example of environmental action'. QWAG's work inspiring the proper restoration and management of rivers had been chosen as an example of creating 'sustainable communities'. The South London Press (19th March) reported: 'River action group is a 'great' example and The Mercury (24th March) ran with 'River group hailed for heroic actions. Read the full article.
For Lewisham People's Day in July QWAG set up an eye-catching stall and exhibition in Mountsfield Park, Catford. As usual, People's Day provided QWAG with an opportunity to speak with people directly about local rivers and regeneration and to publish a summer newsletter.
Paul de Zylva
19th January 2010
Download the full report as Word document
Full Annual Report for 2010 (71kb)
Open the Treasurer's report as pdf
Treasurer's Report for 2010 (68kb)