Council creates a new role of ‘Thames Champion’

South Oxfordshire District Council has appointed a ‘Thames Champion’.

The River Thames is an important ecological corridor and haven for wildlife in South Oxfordshire, stretching from Henley in the east to Culham in the west.

With the reinvigoration of domestic tourism high on the government’s agenda this summer, the river also benefits the area by bringing in thousands of tourists, especially to market villages such as Henley and Wallingford.  It also is used locally by residents as a location for outdoors activities.

With more than 40 miles of the river located in South Oxforshire, the South Oxfordshire District Council has recognised the importance of the river by creating the new role of “Thames Champion.”   Today, the Council has appointed Woodcote and Rotherfield ward Councillor, Jo Robb, to this position.

Robb is a year-round swimmer with the Henley Open Water Swimming Club and has exclaimed her delight at seeing more locals using the river after the relaxing of lockdown restrictions.  She says:

“Following COVID-19 many people have a renewed appreciation for nature and I’m very keen that we now don’t miss this opportunity to look at how we improve the safety, cleanliness and accessibility of the Thames in South Oxfordshire.   It is one of our most precious natural assets and should be protected and we need to ensure our use of it is sustainable.”

As Thames Champion, Robb will network with river users, councillors and neighbouring councils to improve access to, and protect and enhance the biodiversity and cleanliness of the river.

Robb explains that her first task will be to address the repeated release of raw sewerage into the river and until that is resolved completely, ensure that users of the river have easy access to updated information about any such contamination.



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