Since the publication of John Lawson’s report on the River Ivel there has been a flurry of meetings with key stakeholders. The report was launched at a joint meeting with the Environment Agency and Affinity Water in June.
We held a meeting with the Environment Agency recently to outline our concerns about how and where they monitor the health of the river for the purposes of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Basically, we are concerned that the assessment point is 10kms downstream after the confluence with the Pix Brook. By this point the Ivel no longer has the characteristics of a chalk stream. Additionally, the assessment point “benefits” from the 10 Ml/day output from Letchworth sewage treatment works.!
Charles Rangeley -Wilson OBE (author, conservationist, and Chair of a national chalk streams restoration group) has explained this situation perfectly in his blog which is well worth a read:
We have further meetings scheduled in August with key personnel from Water Resources East (WRE) to try and persuade them to take up John Lawson’s suggestions. These include reducing abstraction from the chalk aquifer and letting this water flow all the way down the Ivel into the Ouse (giving us a much healthier river all year) and potentially using the extra flow in the Ouse to top up Grafham Water reservoir. Water can be returned to Baldock in existing pipes from Grafham Water.The headwaters of chalk streams often suffer from over-abstraction, and we are proposing that the Ivel is used as a national test case to demonstrate the validity of the “Chalk Streams First” model.
These upcoming meetings are key in getting the needs of the Ivel into the long-term regional plan for water use in the East of England.