Charter for Chalk Streams launched

The Charter for Chalk Streams was launched at an event held on the over abstracted River Beane in Hertfordshire on May 23rd. The Charter follows on from a special summit last December. Chalk streams are recognised as a unique global asset providing a pristine environment for wildlife with rich clean water and high quality habitat. Some 85% of the worlds chalk streams are located in England and many in and around London have almost disappeared in normal weather conditions. Only a handful receives the high levels of protection that their conservation status requires.

The Charter is calling for a range of measures, including the introduction of compulsory water metering to reduce waste and cut unsustainable abstractions. The demands include:

  • A national designation of all chalk streams as Special Areas of Conservation
  • Reform of National Planning Rules to allow for meaningful objection to developments on grounds of lack of water resources
  • A primary duty on the water regulator Ofwat to promote environmental sustainability
  • Compulsory water metering and a national education campaign to reduce water demand
  • Less reliance on groundwater sources and clear targets for replacing aquifer abstraction with surface supply and storage.

The Angling Trust, Salmon and Trout Association and WWF are leading the lobbying effort to address the fundamental issue of water resource for chalk streams, supported by many organisations including the WTT, Rivers Trusts and Wildlife Trusts.

The Wild Trout Trust provides advice and practical habitat improvement projects on chalk streams from the tiny Lincolnshire chalkstreams to the famous fisheries of the Test, Itchen and Avon. Guidance on habitat management for chalk streams can be found in the WTT’s Chalk Stream Habitat Manual, available to download as a series of PDF’s (click here) or to purchase as a CD, price £10.00 (click here).

Some examples of our work on chalk streams include running a Habitat Masterclass’ on the River Chess (click here) and a project to improve habitat on the Upper Itchen (case study video — click here).