The Environment Agency will start improvements on another section of the River Darent today (Monday, 12 March). The latest work on the river will affect a 300 metre stretch at Franks Lane, near Horton Kirby.

The work will restore a section of the River Darent to a more natural state. The Environment Agency will move the gravel in the river around to reinstate features like pools, riffles and gravel bars – all of which will provide a better habitat for wildlife such as invertebrates, fish and water voles.

Work by the Environment Agency and partners, including water companies and the local community, has brought the river back from the brink of disaster. The Darent is a chalk stream and is fed by groundwater – water that is stored under ground. Over time, more and more of this water has been taken out – or abstracted – from groundwater for public supply, which almost devastated the river. The Darent Action Plan aims to reduce abstraction close to the river to improve river flows.

The Franks Lane rehabilitation project is the third in a series of restoration stretches on the Darent. Previous restoration work has been carried out at Hawley Manor near Dartford and Lullingstone Castle near Eynesford.

Tom Cook, who is managing the project for the Environment Agency said:

“The River Darent is an important chalk stream habitat. Due to our restoration works in recent years, we have seen improvements for river invertebrates, which are an important food source for fish. The works will create better habitat for water voles and birds too. These are all indications that the river is improving. There is still a lot to do, but the work at Franks Lane will make an important contribution to the river, creating a better place for wildlife and the local community.