On 15 June, the Chalk Stream strategy, which aims to provide comprehensive protection and priority status to chalk streams and their catchments, was officially launched at Watermen's Hall in London.
The Chalk Stream Restoration Group, supported by the government's catchment-based approach initiative, published the implementation plan for this strategy in 2022. It emphasized that all chalk streams have been designated as high-priority sites, requiring water companies to improve storm overflows near these locations as part of the government's Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan by 2035. Additionally, all water resource regions reliant on chalk aquifers are now automatically considered water-stressed.
The plan includes commitments to increase investment in restoring chalk catchments, with a goal of leveraging £1 million annually in partnership projects starting in 2023. It also addresses the impact of agricultural pollution and plans to review the effects of private sewerage systems on chalk streams.
Charles Rangeley-Wilson, Chair of the chalk stream restoration group, hailed the plan as the first unified effort among regulators, industry, and environmentalists to protect England's beautiful and globally rare chalk streams, while also implementing a mechanism for accountability.
Natural England chair Tony Juniper acknowledged that the UK is “incredibly fortunate to have so many of the world’s precious chalk streams right on our doorstep”, however, he noted these are facing “numerous threats” - ranging from over-abstraction to pollution to physical modification.
He continued: “Addressing these through innovation and working in partnership through the Chalk Streams Restoration Group, we cannot only improve the state of our chalk streams but unlock progress for broader Nature recovery too.”
Tony Juniper visted our Our Avon Countess project in April, click here
to find out more about our project which works towards the objectives of the Chalk Stream Strategy Implementation Plan.