Registered Charity Number: 1037414

Report to the Trustees on the Activities of Clean Rivers Trust, Spring 2019.

June 17th, 2019 in News by admin


The spring has been a busy period for the Trust with activities continuing at Cinderhill, trying to obtain a new trial at another set of tar pits, liaising with the Environment Agency, looking at the University of Nottingham  Jubilee Campus to see which seams and horizons might give sustainable supplies of heat to a building and outreach via LinkedIn with regard to a polluted lake in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, India.

Other projects have included pharmacological research into removal of common pharma waste treatments and the ongoing wetland success: slug pellets containing metaldehyde, a long term issue we raised in 1995 are to be banned from next year: we are looking at low dose recycled nicotinoids as an aphid control additive to surfactants to protect plants such as roses and other non-edible plants also as a possible method for control of malarial mosquitoes.

We have also had to change accounting methods this last quarter to digital spreadsheets rather than traditional bookkeeping. This was due to a change in the requirements of HMRC and their ‘Making Tax Digital’ VAT reporting. Thanks is due to Price Waterhouse Coopers who have supplied support without charge.


This quarter has seen the replacement of those willows that failed due to the heat last year. A major undertaking with the addition of 30 tons of compost across the site. Thanks to Nathan and Sophie for their effort and labour. The site is looking good now and is greening up well. We have had some issues arising from gas coming from a still open borehole on site, a small number of the established willows have been defoliated. A good reminder to keep health and safety to the fore.  

We have monitored the site with cameras and have noted rabbits in number, badger, fox and several birds of prey including, kestrel, buzzard, and Barn owl, there has also been a very fleeting glimpse of a muntjac deer. We have also found reptile life on the tar pit itself, frogs and a toad plus a Great Crested newt.

The site surface is now solid across the treated area and has sunk in height since we started last year. Some areas have dropped by around 18 inches. The tar when drilled into now leaves a semi-permanent hole which closes over months rather than minutes as we witnessed at the start of the project.

We have had a high-level Environment Agency visit recently who left after an hour and a half very pleased to have been on site. They were exceedingly positive and pointed out several other sites across both East and West Midlands that we may be able to tackle. Most other visitors are equally impressed.

The site has again started to witness break ins and vandalism, sections of the site fence being destroyed by force, other events have included theft of a camera, motorcycle on the site surface and attempted arson. All issues have been reported to Derbyshire Constabulary.

Chevin Hill Tar Pits.

We have been in contact with Fuchs UK, the British arm of the Germany based lubricants firm who bought Silkolene (the oil recycling company based in Belper that was responsible for the placement of the tars several years ago).

There appear to be another five sites around the Belper area and as the EA state several others in and around the West Midlands. Fuchs have shown us the first two bordering the Chevin Golf Club, located in an old sandstone quarry. Another very beautiful location and these will need our best ecological care to both protect the significant quality of both flora and fauna.

Initially we have quoted for a trial of a modest size which could be scaled up later. The nature of the tar present appears to be very similar to that which we initially encountered at Cinderhill.


It is pleasing to report that this substance is to be banned from next year. The damage to aquifers

and rivers, especially across the Fens has been remarkable. We have been very active in our work to bring this change into play.


Pharmacological Treatment.

Our work continues in this area with now between 88% and 98% removal using wetlands. The hardest part of this now is to persuade our research partners to use terms such as wetland rather than lagoon methods and use the correct terminology and flora species.

Minewater Heat.

We and University of Nottingham are putting together a trial concept to heat a building on their Jubilee Campus by using the available warmth stored in the water from the old working of Radford Colliery, the campus being built on the former colliery site.

Work is underway to access the depths and number of coal seams that might be accessed to achieve our objectives.

The Coal Authority are at present disinterested in this scheme and are continuing discussions with Nottingham City council. Such discussions have underway for two or three years.

Last Gasp.

A small project we have been invited to involve ourselves in is the recycling of tobacco product waste, cigarette butts and similar rather nasty residues from this addictive pastime. Cigarette buts are spun from nylon or other similar materials and are widely found on city streets and washed up on beaches.

The removal of nicotine from cigarette ends gives purpose for their collection. Their use in gardens and more interestingly damaging malarial mosquito lava and adults makes it doubly useful to pursue further.


The Trust is actively advising the Indian Environment Agency on methods of treating slum sewage, water and silt purification plus related issues regarding a large lake in the heart of Chandrapur.


The Trustees might be pleased to hear that the Trust’s funding is on a sustainable footing. More paid research would be useful but that which we have alongside donations from funding organisations allows for the expanded workload to be carried sustainably.

These photographs taken today – 3rdJune 2019 at the Tar Pit, Cinderhill

Author: admin

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