Ministerial visit gives boost to endangered rivers campaign

A CAMPAIGN to save endangered rivers in Comet country has been given a boost. Environment minister Huw Irranca-Davies kept his promise to North East Herts MP Oliver Heald to visit the Beane and the Mimram. He heard first hand of the problems with the rive

A CAMPAIGN to save endangered rivers in Comet country has been given a boost.

Environment minister Huw Irranca-Davies kept his promise to North East Herts MP Oliver Heald to visit the Beane and the Mimram.

He heard first hand of the problems with the rivers running dry and then went to see them for himself.

Accompanied by a team which included his top rivers policy adviser, Mr Irranca-Davies viewed the Beane at the Whitehall Pumping Station which provides the water supply for Stevenage.


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Among those who met him were Charles Rangeley-Wilson and Tom Le Quesne of wildlife protection group WWF, Tony Last, Tony Langford and Robin Cole of the Friends of the Mimram which runs through Whitwell and Ian Knight, Andrew Bott and Dave Stimpson of the River Beane Restoration Association.

Presentations were given by Charles Rangeley-Wilson, Dave Stimpson and Robin Cole.

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Mr Heald said: "I am delighted that the minister came to see for himself and that the local groups were able to explain how water-stressed our rivers are.

"I am closely involved with the WWF Rivers on the Edge Campaign and I was grateful to Charles Rangeley-Wilson for explaining the national context so well. At Parliament 104 MPs have signed my rivers motion and we will be calling for a debate in the new session of Parliament."

Mr Heald's motion reads:

"That this House believes that the chalk rivers of England provide a unique habitat for a rich diversity of fish, riparian creatures and rare plant species which is under serious threat; expresses concern at the recent Environment Agency finding that less than 20 per cent. of the rivers and lakes of England and Wales are currently at good status due to growing pollution, over-abstraction of water and habitat destruction; and calls on the Government to develop a plan to protect and enhance the condition of rivers, including the chalk rivers, setting firm and demanding targets."

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