Thursday, May 19th, 2022

River Darent is set to run dry unless OFWAT takes tougher action over water abstraction says Sir Michael Fallon

SEVENOAKS MP, Sir Michael Fallon, is urging OFWAT, the regulator for water in England and Wales, to take a tougher stance on water abstraction from the River Darent in response to an appeal from the Darent River Preservation Society.

A lorry crossing through the River Darent at The Ford in Eynsford. PHOTO: Barry Marsh

The Darent, which consists of clean chalk aquifers fed solely by rainfall, is routinely abstracted from by Thames Water – even though the South East is the region with the lowest levels of rainfall in the country.  The Sevenoaks MP has warned that continued abstraction is ‘unsustainable’.

Sir Michael said: “At current levels, the Darent is set to run dry.  That is even before you consider the nearly 24,000 new homes both Sevenoaks District Council and Dartford Borough Council have been instructed to build in the coming years.

“OFWAT must exercise greater control over unrestricted abstraction and hold companies like Thames Water properly accountable for their actions.”

The historic cattle screen over the River Darent close to The Lion Hotel in Farningham. PHOTO: Glen

The River Darent is fed from springs in the greensand hills near Westerham in Kent and Limpsfield Chart in Surrey. It flows through rivers and lakes in Westerham, Brasted and Sundridge before heading north along the Darent Valley near Sevenoaks where it passes through Otford, Shoreham, Lullingstone, Eynsford, Farningham, Horton Kirby, South Darenth, Sutton-at-Hone, Darenth and Dartford. The final two miles before it reaches the Thames at Long Reach is a tidal estuary.

The Viaduct between Lullingstone and Eynsford which carries trains over the River Darent. PHOTO: Barry Marsh

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