Winchester Going Green

Introduction

    Winchester Going Green is a conservation project, to preserve and protect the natural environment and promote environmental awareness and responsibility within the business, residential and visitor communities of the city of Winchester.

    Specifically, Winchester Going Green aims to build on work undertaken by Winchester City Council and partners to improve local waterways in recent years.

    In 2005 Winchester City Council commissioned a Local Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) to deliver on national Species and Habitat Action Plan targets identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.1

    The BAP identified particular priorities for conservation – species and habitats that were particularly threatened or declining in the UK. These included familiar animals and plants, such as water voles and bluebells, as well as many lesser known species. Equally important were the homes of these species (their habitats) which had been identified as at risk of loss or neglect.2

Objectives

In fulfilment of broad aims of Winchester Going Green, the project has four primary objectives:

  1. Clean and improve the habitat of designated portions of Winchester’s river waterways and their respective banks;

  2. Engage the Winchester residential community, to help them better understand the part that they can play in improving and protecting their local environment;

  3. Engage and inform Winchester businesses of opportunities for improving the environment within which they operate.

  4. Establish long-term river habitat maintenance and proactive community awareness and responsibility for Winchester’s waterway environments.

Successfully meeting these objectives will make realisation of a long-term vision possible.

Vision

    It is hoped that by involving young people and community members as volunteers, they will better understand the effects of water pollution on wildlife and proactively move to take even greater responsibility for their environment in future.

Scope

    The River Itchen is considered one of the best chalk streams in the world and flows in several different channels through the city of Winchester. The main channel flows through Winchester City Mill and to the east of the city’s Roman walls along a promenaded reach known as ‘The Weirs’.

    The river is home to a range of protected species, including otter and Southern Damselfly. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).3

    Winchester Going Green will operate at locations in and around the River Itchen, within Winchester city limits, at locations agreed determined by and agreed with Winchester City Council. Figure 1 illustrates the proposed target locations for river cleaning operations.



    Figure 1 – Proposed locations for river cleaning operations

Stakeholders

Project Client

    The Winchester Going Green project is offered to the City of Winchester to benefit its residents, businesses, visitors and the flora and fauna habitants of its natural environment.

Sponsor

Winchester Going Green is sponsored by Shine Cleaning Inc. Limited, a local business in Winchester, in liaison with Winchester City Council and local community volunteer groups.

Shine Cleaning Inc. Limited
Address: 20 Moorside Road, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 7RX
Internet: www.shinecleaninginc.co.uk

Telephone
Freephone: 0800 206 2212
Southampton: 02381 242683
Winchester: 01962 706301

Method & Techniques

Introduction

The Winchester Going Green project will be completed in three phases described below.

Phase 1

The first phase will involve removal of floating rubbish from the river’s surface and all waste and litter along the river bank within the targeted zones. This will be completed before winter conditions prevent access, or floating debris begins to sink. Removing rubbish from the river bank will prevent it from entering the aquatic ecosystem.

Phase 1 will be undertaken by professionally trained Shine Cleaning Inc. Ltd. staff supported by volunteers, who will be provided with the necessary safety equipment.

To avoid safety hazards and potential habitat damage that can result from working directly in water, waterborne rubbish will be removed from the river bank using nets, grabs and recyclable bags, before being separated and disposed of appropriately.

Phase 2

The second phase will be more detailed than Phase 1 and will take longer than the other two phases. Phase 2 will involve locating and identifying rubbish items found under water and buried in the substrate.

Some such items might have begun to disintegrate, or become micro-habitats for water inhabitants. Both cases will require slow and careful handling, to minimise further rubbish dispersal and ecological disruption.

As with Phase 1, in most cases rubbish extraction will be undertaken from the river bank. Location and identification of hidden rubbish will be undertaken using a SEAOTTER electronic probe and scanner

Phase 3

The third phase is aimed at promoting the long-term maintenance of the river, and will involve undertaking a monthly inspection, with rubbish removal every two months if necessary, to prevent further accumulation of debris.

It is also intended that an open air education and conservation promotion event will be held annually, to maintain community engagement, encourage ongoing prevention and local ownership and reinforce conservation understanding.

    Winchester Going Green will offer local businesses free advice on how to do a ‘green clean’ and provide information about becoming even more environmentally responsible.

Schedule

Outline

Project phases will be completed in accordance with the following schedule:

  • Phase 1 – will commence on 10th of October 2011 and be complete between 10th and 15th of November 2011.

  • Phase 2 – will commence 20th of May 2012 and be completed by 1st of July 2012.

  • Phase 3 – will commence the month following the completion of the second phase. A subsequent inspection will be carried out on the last Monday of each month, followed by cleaning maintenance every two months as needed.




    Figure 2 – Winchester Going Green outline project plan

Related Initiatives

UK Environment Agency – Clean Rivers

On 30th of August 2011 the UK Environment Agency released a list of the 10 most improved rivers in England and Wales4. The list includes the River Thames, which in the 1950 was declared “biologically dead”.

By 2015 the UK must meet tough new EU targets on the water quality and ecology of its rivers and lakes. In 2011 the Environment Agency, with partners such as Natural England, is targeting £18m of Defra funding to help more rivers meet the new EU targets5. Winchester Going Green will review similar initiatives in England and Wales to identify improvements and opportunities for Winchester.

River Itchen Augmentation Scheme

The Environment Agency owns and operates two augmentation schemes to support the River Itchen at times of low flow. During operation, the schemes abstract water from the chalk aquifer of the Hampshire Downs and discharge it through pipelines into the headwaters of the Candover Stream and River Alre6.

Removal of rubbish from the river and its banks and ongoing inspections by Winchester Going Green will further reduce the risk of waterborne debris impeding the river’s free flow.

ECOCITY Project

The European ECOCITY Project set forth as its deliverable “Urban Development towards Appropriate Structures for Sustainable Transport’ (2002–2005).” The overall ECOCITY objectives give a first indication of the issues that need to be considered in the different planning sectors7.

Among the specified goals of the project were: minimise impairment of the natural environment and maximise respect for natural context. Winchester Going Green will review the reported outcomes of ECOCITY project, for insights into the project for Winchester.

Success Criteria

    Criteria by which the success of Winchester Going Green can be measured during and at the end of main project activities:

  1. Cleaner and improved natural habitats at designated portions of Winchester’s river waterways and their respective banks;

  2. Improved awareness within Winchester’s residential community of how they can improve and protect their local natural environment;

  3. Improved understanding within Winchester’s business community of opportunities for improving their local operating environment.

  4. An established, long-term programme maintaining the natural habitats of Winchester’s waterways and proactively promoting community awareness and responsibility toward this natural environment.

References

Reference Number

Title

1

Winchester BAP, a local biodiversity action plan for the district of Winchester, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, November 2005.

2

A Local Biodiversity Action Plan, http://www.winchester.gov.uk/General.asp?id=SX9452-A78291B8
Retrieved 1 September 2011.

3

UK Environment Agency
Reference: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/132754.aspx

4

BBC News, Reference: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14710478

5

ECOCITY Book II, How to Make it Happen

Abbreviations

BAP

Biodiversity Action Plan

SAC

Special Area of Conservation

SSSI

Site of Special Scientific Interest

WGG

Winchester Going Green

1 Winchester BAP, a local biodiversity action plan for the district of Winchester, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, November 2005.
2 A Local Biodiversity Action Plan, http://www.winchester.gov.uk/General.asp?id=SX9452-A78291B8 Retrieved 1 September 2011.
3 Environment Agency, ‘River Itchen Augmentation Scheme’,
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/water/132410.aspx, accessed 5 September 2011.

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News & Offers

Winchester Going Green

Shine Cleaning in partnership with Winchester City Council. Cleaning the rivers of Winchester.

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