Clean water, clean rivers, enough water for us all, including our farmers to grow food.

That was the foundation of the Plan for Water that I published last year when I was Environment Secretary with increased investment, tougher enforcement and tighter regulation to the water sector with a catchment by catchment focus.

It was clear that every water catchment area needed an individual plan created by the local community.

East Anglian Daily Times: Last summer, Therese Coffey MP organised a round table in Woodbridge to create a plan for the River DebenLast summer, Therese Coffey MP organised a round table in Woodbridge to create a plan for the River Deben (Image: Supplied)

That is why, last summer, I convened a round table in Woodbridge of local organisations including farmers to galvanise local action to creating a plan for the River Deben.

Well done to the East Suffolk Catchment Partnership, under the leadership of the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust, who have done just that and last week launched the River Deben Action Plan: Recovering the Deben from Source to Sea.

The Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust has worked with other organisations including the Upper Deben Farm Cluster, the River Deben Association and Anglian Water to create this plan, working with farmers to improve livestock management and reducing nutrient pollution, as well as enhancing wildlife habitat quality and river resilience.

I look forward to seeing the water quality of the River Deben improve as it is implemented - and I asked the now Environment Secretary, Steve Barclay in Parliament last week to help supercharge the work by increasing government funding to the project.

You can read the full plan online at:

Remember that if you spot pollution, report it by phoning the Environment Agency Incident Hotline on 0800 807060.

One of the bathing sites designated last year was on the River Deben at Waldringfield.

Bathing season has started again formally so there will be weekly testing once again.

The site received overall a poor status last year due to just one significantly poor reading on September 2, coinciding with an astronomical high tide.

All the river quality testing data is online at:

There will also be alerts generated regularly, based on the Environment Agency modelling, and forecasting if there may be pollution in the area.

This is not to say there will be pollution but gives a forecast indication based on particular tides or if there has been heavy rain which may trigger run-off from fields or the like.

It is still a huge regret that East Suffolk District Council would not support the application for the Woodbridge Steps bathing site this year. Nevertheless, I will keep pressing for improvements on improving water quality locally.

East Anglian Daily Times: Southwold pier has obtained Blue Flag status once againSouthwold pier has obtained Blue Flag status once again (Image: Archant)

Talking of cleaner waterways, I’m delighted that both Felixstowe South and Pier and Southwold have, once again, been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status for well-managed beaches with excellent water quality.

This is fantastic news ahead of the summer season.

Whilst the beaches in Felixstowe have had consistently excellent ratings for many years, I previously had to intervene with Anglian Water to improve their Southwold treatment site, which led to Southwold Denes achieving excellent status and gaining and now retaining the Blue Flag.

Finally, I was delighted that my Protection of Livestock Private Member’s Bill successfully passed its final stage in the House of Commons last Friday.

The measures contained within it give more powers to the police to combat livestock worrying, including the ability to seize dogs, use DNA and dental evidence and extending the jurisdiction of worrying to footpaths and roads – covering the transition of livestock from field to field.

It also contains a clause for the provision of unlimited fines, as I want it to serve as a deterrent and for people to do the right thing.

Thank you to local farmers Will, Heidi and shepherdess Tilly for sharing their experiences and explaining why changing the law will help them and their livestock.