Manifesto for Chilterns Wildlife

Chalk streams

Water in a dry landscape

There are only 300 chalk streams in the world and the Chilterns is home to 9 of these which are precious habitats supporting some of the UK’s most endangered species such as the water vole, reed bunting and brown trout.

However, far from being the pride of the Chilterns our chalk streams are in steep decline with no sign of improvement. A particularly wet winter offers a temporary respite, but many will again have no water in them at all which has a devastating effect on the wildlife that depends on them.

We have one of the highest rates of water use per person in Europe which leads to the over abstraction of water to feed high levels of demand. Our inefficient use of water is then compounded by dry summers, run off from tarmacked surfaces, the canalisation of stretches of the rivers and pollution.

We are committed to:

  • Stopping unsustainable water abstraction from the chalk streams and aquifer
  • Achieving the Water Framework Directive objectives for the Chilterns
  • Ensuring the highest level of protection for our chalk streams
  • Supporting the development of a Chilterns Chalk Streams Strategy

We will:

  • Work with government agencies, water companies and stakeholders through the Chalk Rivers Action Group
  • Develop and support local projects to enhance chalk stream habitats and species
  • Support the work of the Chilterns Chalk Stream Project
  • Increase the monitoring of pollution levels by recording river fly activity
  • Ensure the impact of new developments on chalk streams are highlighted in Local Plans and planning applications
  • Seek opportunities to support catchment scale conservation projects that focus on naturalising water courses
  • Raise public awareness of the link between water demand, abstraction and chalk stream flow and wildlife loss

How you can help

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As a charity, we don’t receive any state grant or subsidy for our work. Please help us care for the Chilterns by making a donation here.

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Chiltern Society membership is a very simple way to do something practical to help protect and maintain the Chilterns’ landscape and way of life.

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Get involved with caring for the Chilterns and meet new friends along the way. Choose from a wide variety of fascinating volunteering opportunites.