"A Clear Future for our River"

Bristol Avon Rivers Trust,

8 North Court
The Courtyard
Bradley Stoke
BS32 4NQ




BART is a non-profit organisation and all of our work requires funding. If you would like to help us to improve our rivers then please click on the link below:



Catchment management

BART believes the most important and successful way to manage a river system is at catchment level. This page will provide a background to Catchment Management within the Bristol Avon catchment and highlight some of the ways BART is or will be contributing. You will also find links and reading material so that you can decide for yourselves how you can become involved in measures to protect our rivers and streams. The big strength of Catchment Management is that it is wholly inclusive, no one owns it, and progress therefore has to be made by partnership working – forming alliances and joint projects with an objective of delivering multiple benefits, some at a strategic level, and many, many others on a very local level.

Latest Catchment management……

What is a drain misconnection – how do they threaten our rivers?

Misconnected pipes and drains are a major threat to UK rivers and seas – plumbing misconnections can contribute towards pollution so it is important to be aware of what to look out for. Throughout the UK there are thousands of homes with misconnected drains, which create large problem for maintaining clean rivers and healthy wildlife. So what is a drain misconnection and why do they affect our rivers?

What is a drain or pipe misconnection?

Usually, there are two sewers within your house – a wastewater sewer, where drainage from your bathroom appliances, toilets and washing machines will go to be treated at a wastewater treatment plant. Surface water, such as rainwater and roof and ground runoffs will head to a river or stream.

If the two pipes become misconnected, dirty water from your toilet or shower could get released into a river before being treated. River pollution then occurs when the wastewater from your appliances (washing machines, sinks and dishwashers are included) drains into the wrong sewers, leading it into streams and rivers. As well as this, the clean water pipes can become misconnected – this can overload the wastewater sewer and lead to flooding. This is why it’s so important to check your drain pipes are not misconnected, avoiding any nasty sewage problems or hefty fines form the council later on (you could be fined up to £50,000, however, this is rare).

How does this damage the environment?
Misconnected drains cause big risks for the environment as well as public health. Marine life can become contaminated from harmful bacteria and chemicals such as faeces and cosmetic items like shampoo. Other products such as bleach and body wash are particularly dangerous to the environment and wildlife as they contain extremely harmful chemicals. Furthermore, those who consume fish are at risk from all the chemicals which have polluted the seas.

How can I look after rivers?

Drain misconnections are a big problem for rivers and seas throughout the country, but misconnections aren’t the only threat to our rivers – flushing items like wet wipes and cotton buds can also be dangerous, even if they state they are ‘flushable’ on the packet. Flushed items can end up in our rivers through misconnections and being small enough to by-pass filtering systems. Research by UKDN Waterflow has shown that most commonly flushed items contain some form of plastic, which can take 500 years or more to biodegrade in a river or marine environment. Therefore, it’s important to only ever flush the 3 P’s – pee, poo and paper. Any other household items or litter should be discarded in the bin.

Wet wipes blocking a pipe – this will cause sewage to back up and overflow into our roads and rivers

Objects not meant for flushing can clog drains and rivers, which can result in flooding. If you want to find out more about drain misconnections and how to identify them, see the recent whitepaper by drainage and wastewater management company – UKDN.

River Chew Fisheries Improvement Strategy

During 2019, BART will be delivering a River Chew Fisheries Improvement Strategy to develop improvement plans which could be made to the river as a fishery. The work will build on the recent Environment Agency fisheries reports highlighting the need for fisheries improvements and will be designed to help scope improvements which may be made from potential future funding.

The project will work with the Environment Agency Fisheries Team, angling clubs, landowners and partners throughout the length of the Chew and its tributaries.

Relationships made during this strand of the wider Chew catchment project will contribute to building a foundation for future interventions.

This project has been made possible via funding from the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership and the Environment Agency. BART are incredibly thankful for their support to the project.

For further project information please contact simon@bristolavonriverstrust.org

Chew Catchment Project

We are excited to announce that we are leading the development of a new collaborative Chew Catchment Project designed to bring together local community groups in a mutual mission to protect the River Chew and its tributaries for years to come. In response to the spatial complexities of the catchment, we will adopt a “whole catchment” strategy to deal with the many different challenges.

During the summer of 2019, we will be providing riverfly training so that local residents can monitor the ecology of the river and explore how it develops. The data will then be used by Bristol Water and the Environment Agency to measure the success of the scheme.

We will also be delivering a suite of smaller projects throughout the catchment during 2019/20 – watch this space for details.

To date, project partners include Bristol Water, Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, Environment Agency and Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Further details of the initiatives delivered to date can be found on project partner Bristol Water’s website:


Caring for the Cam

BART have gratefully received funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery for improvement works along the Cam Brook at Midford. BART will be delivering a suit of work to build upon the 2018/19 Environment Agency funded project. The Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Caring for the Cam Project will promote community ownership of the Cam Brook near Bath & educate local people how to protect the river into the future. It will result in a river that has better habitat & water quality for both wildlife & people.

The project will deliver riparian fencing to prevent bank poaching, installation of a drinking trough away from the waterbody, tree planting to improve habitat refuge and bank integrity, a community river dipping and riverfly event and local talks to communicate how people can help protect their local river into the future.

Please follow BART website and social media pages for project updates.

To find out more about the project, please contact simon@bristolavonriverstrust.org

Restoring the Wellow, Midford & Cam Brooks

BART has recently secured funding via the Environment Agency’s Water & Environment Improvement Fund to deliver habitat enhancement projects in two locations along the Cam & Wellow Brooks. The project aims to directly improve two water-bodies that are not meeting Water Framework Directive targets – in particular failing for fish where the classification has declined to poor in the 2016 cycle.

The project scope was developed in partnership with Avon & Tributaries Angling Association, who own the fishing rights of these waters. To date, BART has delivered stakeholder engagement, secured landowner permissions, finalised the project design and secured the required permits to physically deliver the works. Initial clearance and blockage removal will be underway very shortly.

The project will address the following issues:

  • Problematic sedimentation and diffuse pollution – there are multiple locations where livestock poaching is exacerbating bank erosion, causing increased yields of suspended sediments and faecal matter entering the river system. Current practice is likely to be detrimental to the health and recruitment of fish and other aquatic organisms including benthic invertebrates.
  • Poor fish access and supporting habitat – boulder weirs are impounding the flow of the river whilst creating barriers to smaller fish. As a consequence, a stretch of the river has become canalised, characterised by sluggish flows and limited habitat diversity or niches.
  • Limited fish spawning habitat – at present, high-potential spawning habitat is inaccessible to migratory fish due to blockages caused by fallen trees, waste material and collected detritus. Blockages also impound the river, creating unfavourable conditions for fish spawning. If removed there is potential to re-introduce idyllic spawning and juvenile refuge habitat. Livestock poaching is also extensive throughout this reach and will be addressed. 

Image 1. Bank poaching contributing fine sediments and clogging potential spawning riffles.


Follow our project progress via our Twitter page https://twitter.com/BristolAvonRT and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bristolavonrivers/

For more information with regard to this project, please get in touch with simon@bristolavonriverstrust.org.