Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has issued the following statement in response to draft agreement between Southern Water and the Environment Agency as part of the Public Inquiry into reductions to abstraction licenses on the Test, Itchen, and Candover Stream.
"We are delighted with the significant agreement reached between Southern Water and the Environment Agency regarding abstraction licences on the Rivers Test and Itchen. The package of measures agreed between the two parties are, we believe, a landmark moment for the future protection of our chalk rivers and their wildlife, whilst at the same time meeting the needs of the many people that currently over-rely on them for water supply.
"We recognise and credit the work of all parties in getting to this point and would like to thank them for actively consulting the Wildlife Trust during the course of the negotiations. As key players in a partnership undertaking monitoring, mitigation and, under certain conditions, compensation, we will be helping to contribute to a sustainable future for these precious rivers.
"It is important to note though that a sustainable future is not secured by this agreement alone, and there is more work to be done. Our chalk rivers will remain vulnerable to abstraction pressures until alternative water sources are found, so it is important that stakeholders contribute to discussions about how this should happen. Southern Water’s current consultation on future water supplies provides a timely opportunity to do so, and we will be encouraging our partners, member and supporters to engage with the consultation"