Chalk Streams in Crisis – Update

It has been two weeks since we gathered the industry leaders at our AGM to talk about #ChalkStreamsInCrisis, where the big hitters from the Environment Agency, Ofwat, Affinity Water and Thames Water joined our friends from the Chilterns Chalk Stream Project and the Chiltern Conservation Board to answer tough questions from our Keynote Speaker Fergal Sharkey, Chair Simon Kearey and the many of our supportive members who share our grave concern about the crisis that is our disappearing chalk streams.

We are pleased they have all committed to work with even more gusto to help solve the crisis and they all agreed to act with immediate urgency, as not to be the individuals responsible for the extinction of Chiltern Chalk Streams. Specifically, we had agreement from all regarding:

  • The urgency and need to take individual and joint action to stop further Chiltern Chalk Streams damage.
  • To make an immediate start on restoring them.
  • To secure enough resources suited to the size of the task, including the time of personnel who have enough decision making seniority to make a measurable positive difference.
  • A step change in how we better communicate the Chalk Stream Crisis to Government, Industry and Consumers?
  • To all meet and publicly communicate our progress this time next year (October 2020)

We’re now pleased to say that we’ve some significant updates to report.

First, the working group which will consist of all those represented at the conference will have its first working meeting in early December. This group is being headed by Doug Kennedy, our volunteer lead on this campaign. The principal objective of this group is to find ways to maintain environmentally valid and acceptable levels of water and flows in the Chiltern Chalk Streams between now and when longer-term infrastructure solutions are delivered.

Second, Doug has now also secured the support of the senior team at DEFRA and has plans to raise the issue at Government Minister level well before Christmas.

Third, Simon Kearey, our Chair will be taking the matter to our friends in the House of Lords, and we hope to soon have significant support there too.

Fourth, our Rivers and Wetlands Group, coordinated by our volunteer Dan Turner, are working hard on practical plans to show us how we as individuals can go do our bit to save our #ChalkStreamsInCrisis.