North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald held talks with DEFRA Minister Lord Benyon about ensuring special status in planning law for chalk streams.

Lord Trenchard has tabled an amendment to the levelling up bill to give ministers powers to ensure chalk streams are not damaged by planning decisions, such as excessively increasing demand for water or sewage facilities.

The amendment was drafted by Lord Trenchard with help from Sir Oliver and campaigner Nikka Da Costa.

Sir Oliver said: "It was good to be able to discuss this with Richard Benyon and press for special status.

"He is now the minister and previously campaigned with me for better chalk stream health, leading to the Rivers Beane and Mimram and the Kennett improving greatly with less abstraction and important work to improve habitat.


"The Government has done a lot to improve environmental laws and introduce targets, but the planning system also needs to recognise the important nature of chalk streams."

Conservative party chair Greg Hands MP recently visited Ashwell and was able to see the beauty of North Herts' chalk streams.

There are eight chalk streams in North East Herts, and Sir Oliver has been campaigning for improved chalk stream health since 2010.