Monday, 3 June 2013

Sarah Buckingham from the Herts & Middlesex wildlife trust was our guest this evening on West Herts Drivetime;

Today new plans to protect and restore our rivers and their catchments was launched by Environment Minister Richard Benyon on the River Mimram in Welwyn.

The visit recognises the work already achieved by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and partners on the Rivers Beane and Mimram, where the new ‘Catchment Based Approach’ has been piloted successfully. The development of the Beane and Mimram Catchment Management Plan has been part of a nationwide scheme driven by Defra and the Environment Agency, with the aim of helping all our rivers reach ‘Good Ecological Status’ by 2027.

Charlie Bell, Hertfordshire Living Rivers Officer at Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “We are particularly pleased that Defra has chosen to launch the Catchment Based Approach here in Hertfordshire and is showcasing the work we’ve been doing on the Mimram and the Beane. Plans to restore our rivers have been written before, but this new approach involves a wider range of organisations, including local river groups like the Friends of the Mimram and the River Beane Restoration Association. We’ve also chosen to develop a dynamic, web-based plan, rather than a paper document. Without local, coordinated action on the ground like this our rivers will continue to suffer from pollution, modification and over-abstraction.”

Both the River Beane and the River Mimram are ‘over-abstracted’ – the water that supplies the rivers is pumped away by water companies for public consumption and with a growing population in Hertfordshire, demand is increasing all the time.

Jane Durney, Chief Executive at Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “Our river restoration projects are gathering plenty of momentum, but a major barrier to our rivers reaching good ecological status in Hertfordshire is the lack of water in them. For parts of the year large sections of our chalk streams, which are precious habitats of global importance, are dry. Nearly 70% of the water we drink in Hertfordshire is sourced from groundwater, which also feeds our chalk streams. If we take too much of this water, our rivers dry up. With water consumption well above the national average, our county is seriously water stressed. We are determined that these iconic habitats and their wildlife should be protected, but only coordinated action with partners – and high level political support – will make it happen.”

More details can be found at the trust web site

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