Last year Charles Rangeley-Wilson spoke to the Chalk Aquifer Alliance about his Chalkstream First proposals to restore flow to the Chilterns and other chalk streams, principally by abstracting water from our rivers further downstream and pumping it back to supply customers in the upper catchment areas. He was subsequently tasked by Rebecca Pow and Defra to pick up the baton from the Chilterns River Action Group and develop a chalk stream restoration strategy.
Charles says ……
“After 6 months of hard work, there is now a consultation draft of the CaBA chalk stream restoration strategy. It is available to view via the Rivers Trust website [catchmentbasedapproach.org/learn/caba-chalk-stream-restoration-strategy-consultation/]
There is no doubt that our chalk streams suffer from excessive groundwater abstraction, too much nutrient from secondary-only sewage works on undesignated streams, too many storm overflows, too many weirs, too many canalised reaches, not enough gravel on the river beds, not enough meanders, not enough trees in and around the river and not enough space for the river to be a river. That’s easy housekeeping. all it requires is political backing and collective effort.
There has to be a strategy that all parties can sign up to and support. While it might be too radical for some and equally it may be not radical enough for others. However, I do think we have a strategy which, if we act on it, will make a massive difference.
It won’t be the be all and end all. There are hills to climb ahead of more hills beyond. The more hills? Nitrogen levels in the chalk aquifer. Toxins in road-run-off. Climate change.”
This week the Chalk Aquifer Alliance held a Q&A with Charles on the draft strategy, which you can view below;
As can be heard in the presentation, the strategy is in draft form and comment is warmly invited, via the following link.
The Chalk Aquifer Alliance will be making comments on the proposals which we hope to share shortly. Closing date for feedback is 15th June.