Below is the text of a Written Parliamentary Question that Sir Oliver sent to DEFRA about the benefits to local wildlife that reduced abstraction from the chalk streams in his constituency would give, and the answer he received.
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 December 2014 to Question 216087, which flora and fauna found in the the rivers Beane and Mimram he would expect to benefit from less abstraction from the rivers.
A: The abstraction reductions, combined with the rehabilitation of the river habitat, should see a substantial improvement in the flora and fauna in these chalk streams.
It is not possible to link the return of species directly with the new flow regime. However, the Environment Agency can give examples of species it expects to see benefit as a result of reduced abstraction.
Generally, the Environment Agency expects fish such as brown trout and bullhead will benefit from reduced abstraction. It also expects macro-invertebrate species such as mayflies (example blue winged olive Serratella ignita), caddis flies (example freeliving caddis Rhyacophila dorsalis) and stoneflies (rolledwinged, nemourid stoneflies) and plant species such as water crowfoot (Ranunculus) will benefit. Reduced abstraction will also help clean the gravel bed of silt, which will improve fish spawning.
The Environment Agency, Affinity Water and local river groups are working together on a monitoring programme to further help understand how these ecological communities respond to and recover from reduced abstraction.