Ashwell Springs protected from drought

A CAMPAIGN to ensure Ashwell Springs is protected during a drought has been successful.

Ashwell Parish Council and North East Herts MP Oliver Heald made representations to the Government and to the Environment Agency to protect the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) – designated due to the importance of its rare freshwater invertibrates, including species of flatworms.

Last week, Mr Heald received confirmation that the Environment Agency and Veolia Water have signed an agreement to ensure Ashwell Springs will be given special protection in the Drought Management Plan for the area.

If the springs drop below a certain level, water will be pumped from either the Environment Agency borehole at Ashwell’s Redlands Farm or the Veolia Water borehole at Slip End to restore the springs water flow.

Mr Heald said: “Ashwell Springs is a marvellous environmental asset, being a chalk water spring with a unique habitat of flora and fauna.

“I am a strong supporter of protection for our chalk streams and have made representations at the highest level to ensure that the Drought Management Plan for our area protects Ashwell Springs SSSI, which has been threatened.

“It is very good news that the final Drought Management Plan is to include such provision for Ashwell.

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“Countless generations of children and adults have enjoyed the environment there and we should not forget that England’s chalk streams are just as precious as other environmental features, such as the rainforests of Brazil.”