Aquifer Partnership appoints new chair

A project set up to safeguard the chalk aquifer of the South Downs and provide clean and plentiful drinking water to 1.2 million residents in Brighton & Hove and Lewes, has a new chair.

Councillor Martin Osborne has been appointed chair of The Aquifer Partnership (TAP) a partnership between the South Downs National Park Authority, Southern Water, the Environment Agency and Brighton & Hove City Council.

Councillor Osborne is also co-chair of the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture committee and a member of South Downs National Park Authority.

Protecting groundwater

Launched in 2016, TAP (formerly The Chalk Management Partnership or ChaMP) was established to protect groundwater in the Brighton Chalk Block from pollution, as well as increase resilience to climate change and the extreme weather events that can cause flooding and drought.

The five-year wide-reaching programme includes working with residents, farmers, landowners and schools across the Brighton, Hove and Lewes area to reduce pollution, including nitrates which can leach into the aquifer. Sources of nitrates can include intensive agriculture and run-off from roads.

Other work includes carrying out vital research into using the power of nature to reduce pollution and developing sustainable drainage projects or ‘rainscapes’ to help manage water in better ways in the city.

Raising awareness

Councillor Osborne said: “TAP has been doing great work over recent years and I’m delighted to be joining the team. 

“With my roles on Brighton & Hove City Council and the South Downs National Park, I’m well placed to work in co-operation with partners and with our reliance locally on the chalk aquifer for providing our clean, local drinking water. 

"It is essential that we do whatever we can to prevent pollution into the aquifer and raise awareness of how everyone can play their part. I look forward to being involved in the plans of TAP going forward.”

Partnership Development Manager Susie Howells added: “The TAP board is made up of senior leaders from the four partner organisations, together with a great professional and technical team.

“We’re really happy to have Martin on the board to build on the partnership’s solid foundation and bring out the best in the project and the people we work with, building our reputation and raising our impact.”

To find out more about the aquifer, how it works and what you can do to help protect our groundwater, visit The Aquifer Partnership website.

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