BAFTA-winning naturalist Steve Backshall has pleaded with Marlow residents to reduce their boat speed when travelling across the Thames

The 46-year-old, who is best known for presenting the BBC show Deadly since 2009, contacted the Marlow Free Press after expressing his concerns following the speed that many boat users on the Thames go at.

He believes the excessive acceleration, which causes a ‘veritable tsunami that drags behind them (the boats)’, can destroy several secluded habitats, killing young birds and fish in the process.

He told the Marlow Free Press: “This summer has seen a scourge in the form of speeding high-powered boats.

“This may seem to be a victimless crime, but it is anything but, and if it continues, it will result in a tragedy.

“There is a speed limit of six knots on our stretch of the Thames so if you’re overtaking rowers, you’re going too fast.

“And every day now, mostly after dusk when they think no one’s watching, a speedboat will hammer along doing over 20 knots, which creates a veritable tsunami that drags behind them, wrecking everything in its wake.

“I know the nests and check the progress of every single grebe, chick, coot, kingfisher and swan on our stretch.

“One single craft sending a big swell up the banks floods nests, washes away eggs which kills the youngsters.

“As a naturalist, people speeding at this time of year is heartbreaking.”

The wildlife enthusiast, who has lived in Marlow for the last 25 years, has been working with animals and nature since he was a child and revealed that the damaged caused by the excessive speeding will cause ‘repercussions could be life changing’.

Several swans, ducks, geese, coots, moorhens and fish live in the Marlow stretch of the Thames, with the TV presenters’ worries coming a few days after this year’s Swan Upping.

The day of the Swan Upping had numerous boats go up the famous river, with many flock of swans and geese being broken up by the number of vehicles on the water.

He hopes that the people of Marlow will take his message on board.

“Last spring, I had to wade out to pick the body of a dead swan, mown down by a carelessly speeding boat.

“Kingfishers numbers are noticeably down, and boat wash is certainly a factor.

“Even if you don’t care about wildlife, boat owners and renters should have personal concern, as speeding can cost a fortune.

“I can imagine it must be a real buzz to rev that engine and feel the wind in your hair for a few minutes, but the Thames is just not the place to do it, and the repercussions could be life changing.”