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Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th June 2011.

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Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Conservative, Broxbourne

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take to preserve river and stream flows in the summer of 2011; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Environment Agency monitors and reports river flows throughout England and Wales. Where rivers are at risk during dry weather, the Environment Agency can support their flows using augmentation schemes—it currently operates a number of such schemes. It can also protect rivers, and the wildlife they support, by restricting abstractions during a drought. Under Section 57 of the Water Resource Act 1991, it has the power to alter the right to abstract on some agricultural licences under specific predefined conditions to protect the environment. The Environment Agency manages the use of Section 57 powers carefully, taking into consideration local circumstances, along with consultation with those potentially affected.

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