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Camilla Care

Rowers from the University of Oxford named the boat after a river campaign group

Vaseline 4 weeks ago

University rowers have named a boat after a campaign group working to save Britain’s rivers from pollution.

The first women’s eight team from Linacre College, University of Oxford, named it River Action at a ceremony in their boathouse on Saturday.

The team said this was a tribute to the group for “drawing attention to water pollution on the River Thames, believed to be caused by Thames Water”.

Thames Water said improving the health of the river was its “main focus”.

Nick Leimu-Brown, principal of Linacre College, said the River Thames was “part of everyday life” at the college, adding: “We are shocked that the polluted water is now posing such a risk to wildlife and public health.”

River Action said its water quality experts, together with the Fulham Reach Boat Club, used a World Health Organization verified E.coli analyzer to carry out tests on a section of the river ahead of the Gemini Boat Race between Oxford Universities and Cambridge.

It said the tests showed levels of E.coli “up to 10 times higher than what the Environment Agency considers acceptable for designated bathing waters rated as poor”.

The campaign group said the test sites suggested “the source of pollution was from Thames Water discharging sewage directly into the River Thames”.

Sydney Rose, chairman of the Linacre Boat Club, said it was “proud” to support River Action’s vision.

James Wallace, chief executive of River Action, said the naming of the boat was ‘demeaning’, adding: ‘Together with the rowing community, including all rowers at Linacre College, we are standing up for the health of the river and warning We tell the polluters that we will hold you accountable.”

In a statement, Thames Water said it “considers all discharges to be unacceptable” and that “taking action to improve the health of rivers is a key focus” for the company.

It said watercourses had “other potential hazards”, adding: “This is why we support the Government’s advice on open water swimming.”

Thames Water said it had published plans to modernize more than 250 of its sites, which would “improve performance and reduce the incidence of flooding during heavy rainfall”.

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