Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond has met with the Test and Itchen Association to discuss how it is helping to protect Hampshire’s world famous chalk streams.
Flick has two streams running through her constituency - the Itchen and the Meon - and she met the association’s Executive Director Jeremy Legge on the Itchen at Tichborne last week along with city councillor Hugh Lumby.
The Association has 600 members including river owners, river keepers and clubs and all are dedicated to conserving and protecting the internationally recognised water ways.
It works with government and organisations like the Environment Agency to help protect the rivers and manage them day-to-day.
Flick was told the association measures water quality by the numbers and varieties of fish flies that can be found on their rivers. She learnt the rivers were healthier in the 1970s than today.
She was also told Natural England is discussing ideas of returning rivers to their natural state, including the reintroduction of voles and beavers. This would be opposed by fishermen because such schemes would silt-up and slow-down the rivers making it an unattractive habitat for the fish stock.
“This was an informative visit that really showed me the dedication of those who care so much about these chalk streams but also of the modern challenges they face from pollution and water abstraction,” said Flick.
“We must find a way to better protect and enhance these incredible ecosystems for future generations and I have asked to be kept updated on developments on the Itchen and Meon in the future.”
The association added it was very pleased an All-Party Parliamentary group (APPG) for chalk streams has now been set up and that Flick is a member. Jeremy said the association would like to be kept informed about meetings and would consider funding research.