More news...

Jul 6, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

With this hot weather our water use goes up; this leaves less water available for the Chess.

May 3, 2018
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn

With an ever-growing demand for drinking water and increasingly extreme weather events, how do we get the water we need without causing even more harm to our rivers?

May 2, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

Our riverfly monitors are back out in the centre of Chesham checking for life in the Chess now that flow has returned.

Mar 24, 2018
Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

A public meeting with HS2 and the Environment Agency looked at the risks posed by tunnelling to the groundwater and rivers of the Chess and Misbourne Valleys.

Latest News

Urgent Action Needed for Chalk Streams

Jun 4, 2013

Category: Conservation
Posted by: Kathryn

Launch of the Chalk Stream Charter

The RCA and Chilterns Chalk Streams Project were represented at the Charter launch

The Charter for Chalk Streams was launched on the 23rd May 2013 to press government to radically reform water policies to protect the UK's chalk streams.

Chalk streams, including the River Chess, are a unique global asset and 85% of them are located in England. Chalk streams are home to a wide diversity of wildlife, including some of our most endangered species, such as water voles. Despite this, only a handful of chalk streams currently receive the high levels of protection that their conservation status requires. And chalk streams are facing a barrage of threats, including over-abstraction, pollution, habitat loss and invasive species, which threaten their future survival. The charter in particular raises the plight of the unprotected Chilterns chalk streams, which are now regarded as perhaps the most threatened of all chalk streams.

The launch took place at the nearby River Beane in Hertfordshire. Like the Chess, the Beane suffers from over-abstraction for the public water supply, which reduces the river's flows and makes it vulnerable to drying out.

The Charter calls for a range of measures, including compulsory water metering, the national designation of all chalk streams as Special Areas of Conservation and the reform of national planning policy to allow for meaningful objections to development on the grounds of lack of water resources; a key consideration in the South East of England, which is the most water-stressed part of the county.

The Charter has been signed by the Angling Trust, the Salmon & Trout Association, the WWF, the Wildlife Trusts and a number of local river conservation groups. We are proud to be one of the signatories calling for urgent action. The Charter will be presented to government and the water companies. To see the Charter in full and for regular updates on its progress, please see: