Southern Water withdraws challenge over water abstraction

Southern Water has withdrawn a challenge aimed at preventing the Environment Agency from restricting the amount of water it can take from protected chalk streams

The River Test. Photograph: Natural England
The River Test in Hampshire, a chalk stream

Southern Water has said it will no longer contest Environment Agency (EA) moves to restrict the amount of water it can abstract from protected chalk streams.

The EA wants to vary five licences that allow the water company to abstract from three Hampshire chalk streams – the Lower Itchen, the river Test and the Candover – on habitats regulations grounds saying that over-abstraction would harm habitats and wildlife and hinder compliance with the Water Framework Directive. It is currently trying to reduce over-abstraction by reviewing all licences.

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