Funding to tackle water pollution in the South Downs

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Some £80,000 is being invested in identifying and tackling water pollution in the South Downs National Park thanks to a partnership between the South Downs National Park Authority, Environment Agency and the Downs & Harbours Clean Water Partnership.

Around 1.2 million people across south east England rely on water taken from the chalk hills of the South Downs National Par which should naturally be of very high quality but nitrates, largely derived from current and past use of agricultural fertiliser, are affecting water quality, meaning a considerable amount of money may have to be spent on treating it before it can be used.

Andrew Lee from the park authority said, “The iconic chalk hills of the South Downs act as a huge sponge which filters and stores rainwater, feeds rivers and streams, supports wildlife and provides fresh water for people and industry. We want to identify exactly where the nitrate pollution is coming from and then work with farmers to find better ways to tackle it.”

The first stage of the project will be an extensive survey.