Relighting the Darent Project
6th August 2020
This is a really interesting and worthwhile programme being run by the North West Kent Countryside Partnership on behalf of the Darent & Cray Catchment Partnership and approved and funded by the Environment Agency, to breath life into the River Darent.
Of the many issues affecting the river, over shading by dense bankside tree cover has been identified as being one of the key factors preventing the river from achieving good ecological status.
Trees are an important element of the rivers ecology as they provide shade during periods of low flow and high temperature; they help in reducing water temperatures and help to maintain oxygen in the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms need moderate temperatures to live and breed successfully.
However excessive shade and reduced light levels can be a problem in suppressing the productivity of aquatic plants and algae. Aquatic plant communities are an essential component in a healthy stream, providing cover for fish and habitat for diverse macroinvertebrate communities on which fish feed.
The Relighting the Darent Project aims to address the issue of over shading and other issues such as siltation, lack of depth and channel width that can have a negative influence on the establishment of a healthy plant community.
A detailed survey of the Darent, carried out over the last two years, identified many areas where over shading is damaging the health of the stream and one such area runs through the heart of Farningham. A programme of proposed works is currently being discussed by the Parish Council with the Project Leader, who is a qualified ecologist. Further information will follow once a programme has been agreed.
In the meantime, some small-scale vegetation management in the river will be undertaken during the week commencing, 10th August 2020 and further surveying will be required to ensure that no bat roosts or other protected species will be disturbed by the works.
Farningham Parish Council
6th. August 2020