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Volunteers spruce up Reading nature reserve

Friday 23rd October 2020 09:50

Thames Water volunteers picking litter at Fobney Lock and Nature Reserve

More than 20 bags of litter were collected from a popular nature reserve in Reading by a team of volunteers from Thames Water. 

The water company’s sustainability team was joined by Reading councillor Liz Terry for the autumn clean-up at Fobney Lock and Nature Reserve. 

A total of 26 bags of rubbish, most of it single-use plastic bottles and packaging, was picked up, with heavier items, including an old three-piece suite and a shopping trolley, removed by a team from Reading Borough Council. 

In 2013 Thames Water teamed up with the Environment Agency to open the nature reserve along the banks of the Kennet. But while the reserve is well-loved by walkers, cyclists and bird-watchers, it has seen a rise in littering and fly-tipping, particularly in the past few months. 

Cllr Liz Terry said: “I was really pleased to be able to join the team to litter pick at Fobney Lock. It was sad to see the litter strewn around this lovely hidden gem of a place in Reading, but with the sun shining it was easy to make light work of the task and enjoy being out in the open doing something productive.” 

Claudia Innes, Thames Water community project executive, who organised the event, said: “We’re delighted with the results of our litter pick at Fobney. At the heart of our business is a commitment to reduce pollution and make more of a difference to the environment and communities within which we all live and work. 

“More than ever before, individuals, families and communities need an opportunity to experience and appreciate green spaces like this and an interest is all you need to spark a sense of responsibility for these special places and the wildlife that depends of them.” 

David Turner, a member of Friends of Fobney, which helps looks after the site, said: “As with most areas of the country, Fobney Nature Reserve is not exempt from the issue of litter and fly-tipping. 

“Friends of Fobney, along with the Environment Agency, Reading Borough Council, Thames Water and other interested parties carry out numerous tasks during the year and, thanks to the volunteers from Thames Water who last week took part in a major clean and litter pick, the area is now free of rubbish.” 

This year Thames Water allocated £100,000 for the Rivers and Wetlands Community Days project, managed by the Wild Trout Trust, to provide small grants to encourage communities to get involved in restoring, improving and maintaining rivers, lakes, wetlands and the environment. 

Henry Badman, Thames Water conservation and community investment manager, said: “Giving back to the communities we serve is a key part of what we do, especially so during these difficult times. 

“Fobney is a great example of that in action, giving people the chance to get fresh air and exercise and spend time close to nature. 

“But we’re here for the long haul too, and will always come back and spend however long is needed to keep the place looking at its best for the many people who enjoy its surroundings and the wildlife which calls it home.”