Water quality report: ‘routine pollution in our rivers’

“The report clearly identifies the need for proactive education, citizen engagement, stronger regulations, greater enforcement and better government funding for investigations.”

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The recently published Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee’s report indicates the scale of environment degradation related to the tacit allowance of sewage and slurry discharges. 

A variety of causal factors are explored and recommendations for urgent improvements given. A response from the government is expected within 2 months:

Water quality in rivers – Environmental Audit Committee (link does work)

The Rivers Trust is not impressed:

New report lifts lid on chronic pollution of our rivers

Backed by experts, science and citizens, the Water Quality in Rivers report is a devastating indictment of the status quo. It makes one thing clear: the government can no longer ignore the routine pollution of our rivers to suit commercial interests.

The findings of the report, released by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, are utterly damning. They identify a myriad of failures across public and private sectors, which—while differing in scale and severity—have all contributed to the totally ineffectual protection of our rivers. The report echoes the message we have long since been aware of: river pollution has become dangerously institutionalised by the water industry, the agricultural sector and public works. It also highlights the unacceptable current state of freshwater, reinforcing the concerns we raised in our State of Our Rivers Report.

The report clearly identifies the need for proactive education, citizen engagement, stronger regulations, greater enforcement and better government funding for investigations. At The Rivers Trust, we enthusiastically invite the government to collaborate with us to achieve these recommendations.

Perhaps even more enthusiastically, we invite the government to underpin all of this with a response which really means something: effective regulation and enforcement…

New report lifts lid on chronic pollution of our… | The Rivers Trust

The main body representing the swimming community is also demanding action:

Swim England demands urgent action to tackle ‘chemical cocktail’ polluting rivers

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has demanded urgent action is taken to tackle a ‘chemical cocktail’ contaminating the country’s rivers. A damning report published today by the influential House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee has stated that ‘sewage, agricultural waste and plastic is polluting the waters of many of the country’s rivers’. Jane gave evidence to the committee on the benefits of outdoor swimming and the need for cleaner waters so people could swim without fear of becoming sick as a result of pollution…

Swim England demands action to tackle ‘chemical cocktail’ polluting rivers

As has been pointed out, the report shows that the UK is doing very badly in comparison with other parts of Europe:

English Rivers Join Europe’s Most Noxious With Chemical Cocktail – Bloomberg

And as John Vidal writing in today’s Guardian points out, much of this is largely due to a very weak regulatory regime:

This is what ‘cutting red tape’ gets you: rivers polluted without consequence | John Vidal | The Guardian

   
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