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The River Great Ouse is highly polluted throughout Bedfordshire. The contamination is caused by a number of sources including the discharging of untreated sewage into the river, agricultural run-off and there is evidence of industrial pollution. Contaminates of faecal bacteria, phosphates and nitrates are present in the river at alarming levels and the levels of PFAS* in the river are 10 times above safety limits. 
*Source  The Environment Agency

Many PFAS, including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are a concern because they:

- do not break down in the environment,
- can move through soils and contaminate drinking water sources,
- build up (bioaccumulate) in fish and wildlife.

PFAS are found in rivers and lakes and in many types of animals on land and in the water.

Bedfordshire Great Ouse Valley Environmental Trust BedsGOVET, intends to identify and help to eradicate the causes of pollution in our river and return it to health before it is too late

Our Goal

The goal of Bedfordshire Great Ouse Valley Environmental Trust BedsGOVET  is a River Great Ouse which is clean and free of pollutants, with many sections achieving bathing water status.

We want to see that the river and valley are increasingly recognised as a place of natural beauty generating a feeling of well-being to those who live, work and play along the river as well as those who visit the area.

In the riparian zone (areas relating to or adjacent to the river) and valley area, we want to see that there are increasing levels of biodiversity for plants, animal and insect species with connected nature corridors along many sections of the river and its catchment.

A clean river is the only way that these goals can be achieved.

Who We Are

Bedfordshire Great Ouse Valley Environmental Trust BedsGOVET is a dedicated group of trustees from diverse backgrounds but a common aim – To identify the causes and sources of pollution in the River Great Ouse through Bedfordshire and where identified, bring pressure on local and national government, water companies and agriculture to rectify the situation.

We now have teams of dedicated volunteers (Citizen Scientists) who are working with us to test the water quality in the river for contaminates such as faecal bacteria and excessive levels of nitrates and phosphates.

Our Trustees

Mike Clifton
Mike joined Bedfordshire Great Ouse Valley Environmental Trust BedsGOVET in March 2023. In April he became a trustee for the organisation, and has constructed the various testing apparatus used to collect water samples from the river. He also manages the regular testing sites between Turvey, Odell, Felmersham and Stevington. Mike is also involved as a volunteer for Wild Ken Hill in North West Norfolk working on its re-wilding project. Many may have seen the program on BBC - Spring Autumn and Winter Watch, which was filmed there. 

Carrie Scrivener-Leask
As a former wild swimmer of the Great Ouse, and physical geography graduate, Carrie is passionate about the role of river restoration in increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and flood risk management. She believes that citizen science has vital role to play in its potential to collect data at scale on the state of the river and its tributaries. She is applying her 25 years’ experience of data analysis and project management skills to implement this vision. She is responsible for co-ordinating the regular BedsGOVET testing programmes and analysis of test results.
Qualifications: BSc

Tricia Lennie
Tricia took early retirement from a 25-year career in lecturing, teaching English, Professional Tutor, Governor and Head of Sixth Form. In retirement has served as Clerk & RFO to Parish Council and trustee to local organisations and secretary to BedsGOVET. Her main interest in the work of BedsGOVET is a belief that climate change and environmental degradation are the most serious issues facing humanity. A desire to help communities connect with the environment and protect it.
Qualifications: B.A.(Hons), M.Phil., P.G.C. E, M.Ed. (Cantab)

John Strutt
John is a retired Prof. Reliability and Engineering Risk Management at Cranfield University, Retired Technical Director of Astrimar Ltd. Currently, Environmental Councillor of Stevington Parish Council and Chair of BedsGOVET. His main interest in the work of BedsGOVET: Training for river wardens and developing our Citizen Science projects to regenerate the ecological status of the river Great Ouse and regenerate habitats for wildlife
Qualifications: BSc DPhil CEng FIMechE

Alan Horn
After retiring from a career in business that included living and working overseas in Italy and USA, he concentrated on documentary photography which led to a two-week exhibition in Norwich highlighting the plight of the Happisburgh village community in Norfolk as it succumbs to the North Sea. The exhibition is now on permanent display in the Village and the work has also been featured in Les Echos, a Parisien newspaper. Alan now concentrates on helping BedsGOVET to build its reputation as a force to improve the quality of the water in the River Great Ouse
Qualifications BSc BA (Hons) MBA ARPS

What We Do

The Bedfordshire Great Ouse Valley Environmental Trust –BedsGOVET has secured enough testing equipment to carry out a year’s testing of the River Great Ouse through Bedfordshire.

We have nominated 8 sites between Turvey and Great Barford where readings are now taken on a monthly basis recording levels of faecal contamination, nitrate and phosphate levels and turbidity.

Our programme will also allow us to carry out further testing at times of extraordinary weather such as flooding or drought conditions.

Further testing equipment is planned to monitor river temperature and to verify our current methodology.

Our teams of Citizen Scientists have come together to create an enthusiastic and dedicated group

Citizen Science

What is Citizen Science? 
Citizen Science is defined as public participation and collaboration in scientific research and it involves members of the public volunteering to help scientists, gather data to support their research.

Why is citizen Science important to ecology and river health?
When volunteers work together with river scientists and ecologists they are able to collect far more data and information about the river and the species they are studying. The whole community learns.

How is information gathered?
There are different ways of gathering information, that volunteers can get involved with.

- Visual Observations: recording what you see and submitting the data

- Observation tools: some data can be recorded using cameras to log what is seen. Observation may be supported by special apps such as Survey 123, which we use.

- Testing water samples and on-line monitoring:  water quality data may be obtained using water testing kits or by more sophisticated sensors for time- based monitoring of important water quality variables

Charity Details

The Bedfordshire Great Ouse Valley Environmental Trust BedsGOVET was registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with the Charity Commission on the 5th of May 2022 (Charity Number 1198830)

Our Mission is to promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of the Great Ouse Valley and environs in Bedfordshire through a program of river monitoring and community engagement and by the advancement of the education of the public in the understanding of the importance of river quality on biodiversity, economic and social activity.

Contact Us

For the short term, please contact us via our Facebook Group.