13,000 new roach, chub and dace added to the River Great Ouse

Upper Great Ouse pollution recovery

The Environment Agency stocked 7000 roach, 5000 dace and 1000 chub as part of the recovery plan to help restore 25km of the river after it was affected by a major pollution incident in June 2018. These fish are all two summers old and ranged between 5 and 15cm.

These fish are really important, they will continue to kick start the fishery, adding to previous stockings from 2018 and earlier this year. Other efforts driving to improve the recovery of the river includes:

– Improving marginal features, creating planted berms and large in-channel features which provide cover and foraging areas for fish and other wildlife

– Working with landowners to carry out in river enhancement that increase flow speeds to reduce silt deposits and encourage natural processes. These improve fish spawning and invertebrate communities.

– Removing barriers to help fish migrate naturally, speeding up the recovery. We are funding the appraisal of a major barrier to improve fish passage in the middle of the affected length.

To learn more about how you can be involved in caring for the river in Buckingham, read about the River Wardens scheme on our Buckingham Parks page.

Buckingham Town Council invests in its first electric vehicle

Buckingham Town Council is excited to announce that its Greenspaces Team has a brand-new electric van meaning the Council will be able to serve the community in a more energy efficient and environmentally friendly way.

The new addition to the fleet is a Renault Kangoo and is 100% electric. The new van, complete with signwriting, will be seen out and about in Buckingham when the Greenspaces Team carries out many of its duties including building and parks maintenance and event support.

Councillor Ruth Newell, Chair of the Environment Committee added: “I am pleased that we had the opportunity to replace one of our vehicles and that we have been able to fund an electric vehicle perfect for our green spaces team to use around the Town and Parks and environmentally friendly in line with our Climate Change Action Plan.”

So far feedback from staff using the vehicle has been ‘excellent’.

The Bard of Buckingham: applications open!

Do you want to be the Bard of Buckingham?

Complete the following form to apply: Bard of Buckingham 2019 and return it to events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk by the 2nd of October, or drop it in to the Buckingham Town Council Office.

1.      The Bardic Trial

The first Buckingham Bardic Trial will be held in the Cote, at the rear of the Woolpack pub, on Tuesday 1st October from 7pm to 9pm.  The event will include the election of Buckingham’s first Bard and Deputy Bard.

The evening will be hosted and chaired the Town Mayor, Councillor Mark Cole JP, supported by the Town Crier. Everyone in the room will be Bard of Buckingham logo, quill over the old Gaolable to cast one vote for the winner.  The recipient of the most votes will become the Bard of Buckingham, and the second placed person will become the Deputy Bard.

Each potential Bard will be asked to present one piece relevant to the theme of “Buckingham”, which should last a maximum of 5 minutes (less is fine!).  They may then present a second piece of their choosing.

Potential Bards are encouraged to register beforehand, although it will be possible to just turn up on the night.  It will be free to take part; however, a collection will be made on the night for the Mayor’s charities.

Performances will be recorded and may be shown on social media.

It is hoped to attract a wide range of entries.  Anyone can take part, providing they are over 18 and live within a day’s walk of the Old Gaol.

2.      The Bardic Council

A Bardic Council will be formed to support the individual holding the position of Bard, and to help to develop the role.  The Council will consist of local poets / storytellers and supporters, and will be largely formed from those present at the first event.

The first meeting of the Bardic Council will be on Tuesday 8th October in the Council Chamber from 18:00 to 19:00.

3.      What is a Bard?

The Bardic tradition has been spreading throughout England in recent years; Stony Stratford, Exeter and Cambridge have particularly successful Bards.  Bards differ from Poet Laureates in key ways: while both are generally geographically-based, the source of their words comes from a different place. While a Poet Laureate is usually employed by an official body to represent the views of those in power to the masses, a Bard is democratically elected by a combination of their peers and the public.

The Bard of Buckingham will gain their title (“be chaired”) after winning the first Buckingham Bardic Trial. They will hold their title for (at least) two years and a day, before passing it on to the next successful Bard.

A Bard needs to be motivated by a passion for creating through words, whether in song or poetry, or storytelling.  They should have a love for Buckingham, and live within one day’s walking distance of the Old Gaol.

The first Bard will be able to help model and develop the role.  They may help to mentor young bards, and to develop the Bardic community in Buckingham.

The Bard will be invited to write and present pieces at significant events in Buckingham each year.  Performance will be celebratory, or commemorate significant events.   The Bard’s role will be to present pieces in public; content should be suitable for an all age audience.

4.      Bardic Oath

The winner will read the following oath, from Stony Stratford, on becoming Bard:

“Words gather and now my bardic watch begins.  It shall not end for two years and a day.  I shall herald the town, raise for bardic causes, and keep it family friendly…

I shall wear no crown, and win no glory.  I shall live and not languish at my post. 

I am the word in the silence.  I am the mouth of the masses.  I am the voice that celebrates the Buckingham.  I pledge my words and honour to this Bardic Year, for this night and all the nights come.

5.      What support will be available?

A professional voiceover artist will be available to provide support with public speaking.

Once formed, the Bardic Council will provide support to the Bard and their Deputy through the year.

River Great Ouse: Recovery Update July 2019

Recovery and restoration
On Friday, 12 July we were able to release approximately 25,000 fish (20,000 dace 6-7cm and 5,000 chub 9-10cm) back into the River Great Ouse at Radclive, Buckingham and Thornborough, the locations were chosen based on their proximity to weirs and the ability for the fish to be distributed through as much of the river as possible.

Partnership working
River Wardens
Our work to establish a voluntary group of River Wardens continues, we hosted an Aquatic Invertebrate Workshop on Thursday, 20 June at the Buckingham Community Centre. John Findlay from the Environment Agency’s Analysis & Reporting team gave a talk on the different species of aquatic invertebrates that can typically be found in the river and how to identify them. Potential volunteer River Wardens then had the opportunity to put their new skills to the test and identify some samples under microscopes. The group was very enthusiastic and enjoyed the chance to get some hands-on experience.
We are hoping that a Project Officer will be in place soon, so that it can finally get the volunteer River Warden scheme up and running.

River Restoration Advice Workshop
We are working with the Wild Trout Trust to finalise our River Restoration Advice Day on 10 September 2019. Planned specifically for partners and landowners on the Great Ouse between Brackley and Buckingham, the event will focus on providing practical knowledge and skills to help restore and improve the Great Ouse in and around Buckingham. This event is invitation only, we are looking for a small number of landowners with an appetite to deliver work to improve the river in this area. Anyone interested should contact Kye Jerrom via FBG.C&B@environment-agency.gov.uk

Other restoration opportunities
• We are assessing options for a fish pass on the Upper Ouse and have secured funding for an initial design to be produced. We will consult local landowners on design options in order to agree a preferred design by the end of the year.
• In June the Wild Trout Trust completed a river restoration options assessment for river improvements through Radclive. It is hoped that this will drive future work to benefit the river and the fishery.

Stay informed
Keep up-to-date with this restoration and other projects by liking our Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology Facebook page www.facebook.com/OuseFishEA/ or follow us on Twitter @OuseFishEA.
To add your contact details to this distribution list please email: FBG.C&B@environment-agency.gov.uk

Next update due: 24th October 2019

Growing wild in Bourton Park!

Our second meadow in Bourton Park is looking blooming marvelous with a large variety of native annual and perennial wildflower. We have doubled the size of our original wildflower meadow and it is proving very popular with bees, butterflies and other wee beasties! The patch of land (opposite the multi games area in Bourton Park) is sewn with various species including Wild Champion, Ox-Eye daisy, Yarrow, Meadow Butter Cup and many more. Within the small copse of Silver Poplar tree we have planted a mixture that produce seeds which are attractive to birds. The patch looks glorious with a flourish of purple flowering Phacelia, to be followed by UK native species later in the Summer. These particular seeds were gifted to Buckingham Town Council by local resident and nature enthusiast Mrs Una Robinson.


The wildflower Meadow is located near the car park entrance to Bourton Park: