The battle to save England’s chalk streams, one of the planet’s rarest habitats

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Rivers are especially vulnerable to water abstraction and global heating, but now there is hope for River Chess

Conservationist Allen Beechey remembers a time, in the 1990s, when trout swam along the River Chess as it meandered through the centre of his home town of Chesham. “It was a gentle, reassuring sight and it helped trigger my love of nature,” Beechey said last week.

Then came the droughts, the river dried up – sometimes for several years at a stretch – and the fish died out. They have yet to come back to the Buckinghamshire town.

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