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Free-flowing rivers are increasingly rare in Europe

University of Exeter celebrates Europe’s wild rivers

The University of Exeter, the National Trust, Agile Rabbit and South West Water are joining forces for a special event in Lyme Regis about Europe’s last wild rivers.

The evening will feature a screening of a new celebrated film called Blue Heart, followed by a panel discussion.

“Blue Heart” aims to raise public awareness about the impact of the Balkan Rivers hydropower boom.

More than 3,000 hydropower dams are being planned or built in the Balkans — with a potential to affect Europe’s last free-flowing rivers, communities and wildlife. The film challenges the notion that these projects will generate much energy relative to their financial cost.

The speakers are Richard Higgs, programme manager of the Riverlands project at the National Trust, a £10 million project to bring the UK rivers back to life; Minni Jain, director of the Flow Partnership, an NGO working in the UK, India and Slovenia which is rejuvenating desertified and flooded lands with community collaboration; and Dr David Smith from South West Water Upstream Thinking project, which aims find natural landscape-scale solutions to improve water quality.

The discussion will be chaired by Dr Kate Baker, Research Fellow at the University of Exeter.

Dr Baker said: “It's fantastic to have an evening dedicated to rivers and to hear about the communities and organisations that are working hard on their international and local protection. There are some valuable projects in the South West – this evening will be an opportunity to learn more about them and how to get involved.”

The event takes place Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, starting at 7pm. For tickets, visit

Date: 26 September 2018

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