Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Lincolnshire Area Environment Group (IW 61)


  I am the Chairman of the Lincolnshire Area Environment Group and on behalf of the Lincolnshire AEG, I would like to put forward views to support the Environment Agency retaining their current responsibilities for navigation, in particular focussing on the River Ancholme in Lincolnshire.

  The Agency's work over the last four years in researching, consulting and preparing Local Environment Agency Plans has been both wide-ranging and comprehensive. The result provides a positive statement on each area's economic and social well-being. That has been achieved by consulting extensively with diverse local communities and combining expertise and local knowledge from the Agency and associated partners.

  Strong partnerships have emerged from this pro-active approach. It is crucial, in order to safeguard improvements that are now starting to show such worthwhile results, that future environmental development should not be jeopardised by a change of responsibilities of the Environment Agency as lead partners.

  In relation to the River Ancholme, it is essential that the river navigations currently managed by Agency remains and the integrated whole river management continues. There are numerous user groups who have been brought together by the Agency and who look to the Agency to provide fair, impartial and knowledgeable debate around the many issues surrounding the resolution of potentially conflicting areas of operation. The Ancholme User Group, which is chaired by the Agency, is unrivalled, both in its membership and the understanding of the issues by the constituent members.

  The Ancholme is a river that supports, recreation, conservation and tourism. It is a site of historical structures as well as an area earmarked for modern regeneration and there are vital installations for water transfer schemes, telecommunication equipment, water extraction, lock gates and flood defence. The development of winter storage areas on farms is presently being advanced by work through Environment Agency partnerships.

  The establishment and furtherance of responsibilities of riparian owners, Local Authorities, local organisations and various wildlife trusts in conjunction with the Agency's statutory duties combine most effectively to produce an integrated and holistic environmental policy. This includes furthering partnerships with the voluntary sector. To divorce the navigational responsibilities from the rest of the strategy would be a most retrograde step and a disaster for this particular river.

  We wholeheartedly support the Environment Agency to retain its current navigation responsibilities.

Linda Clayton

25 September 2000

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