Sewage pollution in Buckinghamshire’s rare chalk streams is harming the release of trout, the Chilterns Conservation Board has said.

The public body said discharges into the waterway had interfered with the ‘Trout in the Classroom’ project.

The scheme, run by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project (CCSP), allows a limited number of schoolchildren to follow the lifecycle of brown trout in the River Chess and Wye catchments.

The Board gave an update on the 2023-24 season of Trout in the Classroom in a report presented at a recent meeting.

It said the project had been completed successfully at 10 schools but added: “Trout releases hampered by ongoing sewage pollution.”

READ MORE: Potential ‘prehistoric’ remains under Primark in High Wycombe, say archaeologists

In recent months, Thames Water has discharged thousands of hours’ worth of sewage into the Chess at the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works.

The water firm has come under fire for the discharges though its storm overflows, which act as ‘release valves’ to stop sewers flooding people’s homes and gardens.

The comment about sewage dumping in the Board’s report appears to confirm that discharges are impacting wildlife in Buckinghamshire’s rare chalk streams.

The ‘Trout in the Classroom’ project sees participating classes receive an aquarium containing eggs or young fish.

The youngsters learn about the life cycle of the fish before releasing them into local chalk streams.

Teachers told the CCSP that pupils ‘have been so inspired and enthusiastic about the project’ and that taking part has ‘truly sparked an enthusiasm for our local environment amongst the children.’

Be the first to know about all things breaking news, court, and crime across Bucks! 📱💡 Unlimited local news, an ad-free app, and a digital replica of our print edition—all with 80% fewer ads on our site. Subscribe now for a faster news experience, click here for details.