Welwyn Hatfield Times helps councillor’s campaign for river investigation

A PROBE into the state of Hertfordshire’s rivers will go ahead sooner than expected, thanks to a WGC county councillor and the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

For months, councillor Malcolm Cowan, who represents WGC’s Handside and Peartree wards, had been calling for a scrutiny panel to examine “excessive water consumption” on the rivers Beane and Mimram – reckoned to be among the highest in the country.

Having already secured the promise of an investigation, Cllr Cowan’s campaign received a boost when the launch of a report by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) raising awareness of the threat to the two rivers caused by over abstraction was featured in the Welwyn Hatfield Times back in May.

Cllr Cowan took the Welwyn Hatfield Times article to County Hall, and this week Hertfordshire County Council announced a scrutiny on water quality would be held on October 28 – earlier than expected.

“I had raised concern over the state of Herts rivers some while ago, prompted by a report in The Guardian, which complained of a lack of co-ordination over simple things like litter collection, and a scrutiny was promised,” Cllr Cowan said.

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“I was very pleased to see the story in the Welwyn Hatfield Times. I’ve been working on this for months and the story was very important, as I was able to show the report about the WWF just a couple of days later at a committee meeting in County Hall, to request that the timetable for the investigation be speeded up.”

The Beane and the Mimram are chalk stream tributaries of the River Lee, and are two of only around 200 in the world. They support a variety of wildlife, but do not receive the same levels of protection as larger rivers like the Itchen.

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Cllr Cowan is inviting residents to get in touch ahead of the scrutiny.

“If anyone has any evidence or comments they wish to make, I will be pleased to receive them,” he said.

“The rivers are a key feature of Hertfordshire’s great outdoors and they need to be preserved and improved.”

Contact Cllr Cowan on 01707 324723, with any suggestions.

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