This autumn will see the start of a partnership project to restore the River Darent in central Dartford. The restoration works will bring a clear, chalk river habitat to Central Park for wildlife and for the local community and visitors to enjoy. Dartford Borough Council, the South East Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency have been working together to design and deliver this flagship river restoration project.
Chalk streams and rivers are globally rare freshwater habitats: there are only 210 chalk streams in the world, 160 of these are in England and most of them are heavily impacted by human activity. By removing the weir at Acacia Hall and reintroducing natural features, this project will bring back a meandering, clear running chalk stream to Central Park and improve free passage for fish migration. Other work will include clearing some non-native trees to let in more sunlight and encourage habitat diversity.
These activities will increase the biodiversity of the river channel, and reconnect the river with the wider park through improved access and visibility. Through the project, the river will become a focus of the park, providing open green space for all.
This will bring additional benefits for the health and wellbeing of the local population. As part of the project, there will be engagement with the local community through education and volunteering actions such as planting days and litter picking.
Supported by Dartford Borough Council, the Environment Agency and Veolia, this project will bring multiple benefits for both people and wildlife.
“This is a fantastic example of partnership working enabling us restore this precious chalk stream ecosystem for the benefit of the environment and local community both now and for generations to come.” Sally Harvey, Area Director, Environment Agency
“I’m not sure that many Dartford residents appreciate just how much valuable environment and biodiversity we have in our town. It’s quite a topical issue with lots of people campaigning for ‘this and that’, but the truth is our town is very well advanced in enhancing these environments. The work we are doing at Acacia will make a huge difference to the river, the wildlife who call it home and every visitor who enjoys it.” Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council