Chichester’s MP, Gillian Keegan has written a direct letter to Portsmouth Water’s CEO, Bob Taylor in which she calls on the water company to take “immediate action to reduce the impact of abstraction on the River Ems” and develop an interim and long term plan to “significantly reduce, and eventually end, abstraction from the springs that feed the River Ems.”
In her letter, Gillian reminded Mr Taylor, of her longstanding commitment to this issue having worked with District Councillor Roy Briscoe and the community group Friends of the Ems for several years.
The River Ems has garnered such significant attention as one of only 200 chalk streams in the world, supporting huge amounts of wildlife, both aquatic and land-based. The River is especially important as it is a crucial wildlife corridor between the protected landscapes of the Chichester Harbour AONB and the South Downs National Park.
In her writings, Gillian goes on to request clarification on how the forthcoming Havant Thicket Reservoir will be used to relieve the strain currently being placed on the River Ems. She also indicated her work addressing this issue is far from over. The MP has requested a meeting with Mr Taylor, and informed him that she will also be having meetings with both the Environment Agency and Natural England in the near future to discuss their roles in protecting this important ecosystem.
Upon reading the letter local councillor Roy Briscoe said:
“Gillian is one hundred per cent right – we need both immediate and long-term solutions if we are going to preserve this hugely important environmental asset for nature and our future generations. We are extremely grateful to have our local MP so staunchly standing with the community.”
Sandy Galloway, spokesperson for the Friends of the Ems group said:
“We are very grateful Gillian is continuing to stand with us. We need both short and long-term solutions if we want to save this natural environment and enable the survival of a healthy River with natural flows”