Protests took place in Ovington recently over the dumping of sewage in rivers.

On April 23, campaigners gathered on the foot bridge over the Itchen at Ovington with signs and banners to make their views known about this practice.

Winchester City Councillor Margot Power, who organised the event, said: “It’s fantastic that people want to carry on and support the work of the late Lord David Chidgey, a local champion for better protection of our precious chalk streams.

“Whilst sewage in rivers is a very real problem there are also a host of other pollutants/detritus found in local rivers, including micro-plastics, hormones, pharmaceuticals, nitrates and phosphates, all of which are affecting the wildlife, in and around the river and are having a hugely negative impact on the quality of our drinking water.”

Hampshire Chronicle: The Riley/Frankland family

Cllr Power has written to Southern Water bosses and OFWAT, the water regulator, asking them to stop dividends to shareholders until sewage stops flowing into waterways. She is due to meet Southern Water’s director of the environment in May to talk about the issues and plans to raise executive bonuses as well as dividends.

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Danny Chambers, the Lib Dem MP candidate and local vet, said: “Our local MP voted against a Lords amendment to the Environment Bill that would have stopped this practice and instead is supporting a consultation for a 75 per cent reduction of sewage dumping from the worst storm overflows by 2035, which kicks the can down the road, and allows companies to continue with this disgusting practice. Our chalk streams are very rare, providing a unique habitat that needs protecting now.”

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Yvette Riley, a local activist, said: “With the Meon, Arle and Itchen so close by, this really ought to be a much higher priority for our local MPs. The Government's proposals are glacially slow, not extensive enough and continue to allow water companies and their shareholders to profit from a decrepit water infrastructure.

“The Conservatives privatised the water industry, but there’s no competition - we can’t move to a different water company that takes the environment seriously - we’re stuck.”

Message from the editor Kimberley Barber

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