Please Respond – EA Consultation

The Environment Agency Challenges and Choices Consultation starts the process for setting up the River Basin Management Plans for the next 5 years – eventually drilling down to the ColneCAN (Colne Catchment Partnership) in our case. It’s a long and complicated consultation with numerous videos to watch and information to digest – we’ve had the pleasure of wading through it to assist our members in responding! As much as anything it’s about the number of responses that demonstrate the level of concern. We will be submitting a Society response too. Don’t delay reply today! [The deadline has been extended until 24 Sept 2020.]

To respond go to https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/environment-and-business/challenges-and-choices/

You might like to go to the first section Water Story and add a response using our suggestion below:

The Water Story

Q1. The way we treat water today will shape all our futures. What changes can you make to improve the water we rely on?

I live in the Ver Valley and have seen first hand what it looks like if the balance between water for the environment and abstraction for public water supply goes badly wrong. The River Ver has suffered from over 50 years of abstraction at unsustainable levels, rendering it liable to frequent no flow and low flow events and falling biodiversity as a result. I would suggest that the following points are incorporated in the new River Basin management Plan:

  • Statutory Protection
    Chalk streams should be given enhanced protection with bespoke statutory designation
  • Abstraction Reduction
    Abstraction reform to be more ambitious, delivered quicker and better supported by Government policy
  • Ecological target flows (ETF)
    ETFs for chalk streams would be a valuable benchmark to drive decision making
  • Incentives to encourage habitat improvement
    More varied, flexible and ambitious payment options should be adopted
  • Water supply a statutory consideration in planning
    The availability of sustainable, local water should be a mandatory planning condition
  • Reduce personal water consumption
    A heavyweight Government led campaign to drive demand down
  • More attention given to road run off
    The various agencies involved need to step up and own the problem of this pollution
  • Modest increase in the price of water
    This could provide funds to encourage a more sympathetic balance between the environment and public water supply
  • What can we do?
    I am a member of the Ver Valley Society. Our members already provide numerous hours of free time but we would be happy to contribute more volunteer time to improving the river environment