Wells & Co and Bedford Independent team up with water quality campaigners

Ed Robinson of Wells & Co speaks to BedsGOVET members and volunteers
Ed Robinson of Wells & Co speaks to BedsGOVET members and volunteers at Brewpoint.

A dedicated band of citizen science volunteers have been joined by family brewer Wells & Co and the Bedford Independent to support and highlight BedsGovet, a new environmental charity dedicated to cleaning up the River Great Ouse.

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Recent research carried out by BedsGovet found shocking levels of e-coli and other pollutants found at various points along the river where they have been carrying out testing.

Some tests showed harmful levels of dangerous chemicals “at levels that are up 10 times the acceptable safe limit”.

Read: Campaigners warn that River Great Ouse carries “dangerous” levels of E.coli

Samples were collected from river water across the Borough for a period of six months (July 2023 to January 2024) and showed alarming results that have galvanised people who care about the future of Bedford’s biodiversity.

Sites tested extend from where the river flows into Bedford from Buckinghamshire to the place where it flows out towards Cambridgeshire.

BedsGovet organised a well-attended meeting for members and supporters last week (8 February), hosted by Wells & Co, where plans for Phase 2 testing at an expanded number of sites were discussed, thanks to generous commercial sponsorship from Wells & Co.

Ed Robinson, Sustainability Manager for Wells & Co presented what environmentally friendly actions they had achieved at their brewery, Brewpoint, and pubs over over the past two years.

This has been achieved by their focused efforts to put people and the planet first. “When sustainability is done well, it also helps a business to thrive,” said Ed.

Protect and restore

Heron surrounded by plastic rubbish on River Great Ouse. Image: Carrie Scrivener-Leask
Heron surrounded by plastic rubbish on the River Great Ouse. Image: Carrie Scrivener-Leask/BedsGovet

Wells & Co, are the first commercial sponsors of the charity’s work and share BedsGovet’s commitment to protecting people, restoring biodiversity, and helping Bedford to thrive.

Meanwhile, the Bedford Independent is getting behind this important campaign to give BedsGovet a dedicated column to raise awareness of their campaign and how others can help support their work.

Phase two of water quality testing (February to July 2024) will cover 12 sites in Bedford’s Great Ouse Valley, with more focus on pollution hotspots.

Chair of BedsGovet, Dr John Strutt, outlined the next step in the charity’s journey to protect and restore the river as far as possible.

He said, “Our mission was to establish a baseline first. We needed to know what is in our river before we could begin to identify sources and make a difference”.

New joiner Kara Tomes-Meek moved to Bedfordshire at the end of 2022 and had been looking for environmental groups to join.

“This sounds perfect as I’m looking for fieldwork and experience to help with my marine biology studies whilst also fulfilling my environmental values,” she said.

The charity wants as many people of Bedford and the surrounding areas to get involved, so they can eradicate the causes of pollution in the River Great Ouse and return it to health becomes before it is too late.

If you would like to get involved as a BedsGovet Associate Member, apply for training as a citizen scientist, or just find out more information you can email strategy@bedsgovet.org.

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