Below is the Written Parliamentary Question that Sir Oliver sent to the Environment Minister on the subject of physical habitats in Hertfordshire’s chalk rivers, and the reply he received.
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2015 to Question 2734, what progress her Department has made on restoring physical habitats on chalk rivers in North East Hertfordshire constituency
A: Through its Restoring Sustainable Abstraction (RSA) Programme, the Environment Agency (EA) is working with local water companies and the Catchment partnerships to significantly improve the condition, flow and habitats of chalk streams Beane, Mimram and Lee.
As part of the Programme, Affinity Water and the EA have committed to investing £3 million by 2020 in habitat improvement projects for these chalk streams. These are currently in the planning and design stage. Delivery will accelerate as the Programme progresses over the next five years.
In order to achieve the greatest benefit from these works, Affinity Water has agreed to reduce abstraction from local chalk streams by over 40 million litres per day by 2024. It will significantly reduce abstraction at the Whitehall pumping station on the River Beane by 2018 by building a pipeline, currently under construction, to supply customers with water from alternative sources.
The EA partnership project at Waterford Marsh, also on the River Beane, has seen improvements for both wildlife and people through chalk stream restoration, pond creation, access repair, and the provision of new information boards.