What a fantastic turn out we had on a balmy late spring evening for our summer meeting at the Quadrangle in Shoreham!

Our Deputy Chairman Trevor Carman started the proceedings with a brief talk on the riverbank about ongoing concerns about the quality and quantity of water in the river. He explained that we were not standing alongside the River Darent itself but a leat introduced to power the mill downstream. The course of the river has had many such interventions over the years but now there is a desire from some to remove the weirs and impediments to fish passage and return the river to a more natural state.

Moving indoors, our chairman, Stuart Merrylees, welcomed everyone and talked about the bigger picture connected to climate change and a warming world. He outlined concerns about road run off and the fact that we are depleting fresh water supplies all over the world faster than they are being replenished. This was illustrated with a short film. Longstanding committee member, fisherman and river-enthusiast Stephen Crowley followed with personal memories of the river and pollution incidents over the years. Mark Gallant highlighted threats to the river from invasive non-native species including Himalayan Balsam, signal crayfish and mink.

There was better news from William Alexander who described how the Waterlife Recovery Project which started in Norfolk now includes the Darent Catchment. This is a programme which is helping to protect native wildlife from the invasive non-native American mink. Elaine Merrylees, our newest committee member, spoke about the possibilities that are opening up with eDNA testing.

Thank you to the Quadrangle for providing such a stunning venue, to all our speakers and to everyone who joined us for such a fascinating meeting.