In the late 1980’s a group of Aston Village residents noticed that the stretch of the River Beane that flowed past the village often dried up in the summer. With help from the Aston Village Society they found out that this was a problem common throughout the South East of England and was almost certainly due to over abstraction (the pumping of water from the underground chalk reservoir that feeds the river).
The River Beane Restoration Association (RBRA) was formed in 1991 with members from the whole river catchment starting in Walkern and continuing down to Hertford.
We have been campaigning since then with the objective of having the pump station at Whitehall closed, or the abstraction substantially reduced. We have had support from our MP’s and the local Parish Councils.
In 2014, Affinity Water published their latest Management Plan which included a 90% reduction in abstraction at the Whitehall Pump station to be implemented in two stages by April 2018. Thisplan has been approved and is now being implemented, and we look forward to seeing improvements in water flow and quality as a result.
We are now assisting the Water Company and the Wildlife Trust by carrying out more environmental monitoring on a volunteer basis. The latest project is the possible reintroduction of Water Voles to the river and we are working with the agencies to try to bring this about. This could take two to three years to achieve.