River Itchen

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th February 2018.

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Photo of Lord Vinson Lord Vinson Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take, through the appropriate agencies, to safeguard the unique Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest of the Upper River Itchen from threats of pollution and abstraction.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The current Water Framework Directive classification for the River Itchen is Good.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates abstraction from and discharges to rivers by issuing permits and checking that these are being complied with. Permit limits are set to ensure the protection of the environment. The EA regularly reviews permits based on the evidence available and it amends these limits when necessary.

As part of its ongoing programme of restoring sustainable abstraction the EA is reviewing abstraction permits. Since 2007 this work has reduced the amount of water being abstracted from the River Itchen catchment each year by more than 5.35 million cubic metres. The EA is also reviewing discharge permits and has successfully reduced the levels of chemicals such as phosphates entering the river system.

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