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A View From The Riverbank: The State of our Rivers

New figures from the Environment Agency in its latest report on water quality standards showed that none of the rivers in England were in good overall health.

Enhanced water monitoring has seen a number of chemicals being tested for the first time, providing a truer picture of the state of our rivers and revealing the startling truth that none of our rivers meet good chemical status.

On the ecological classification only 16 per cent of waterways were good, with no improvement on the figure from three years ago falling short of the required standard in four areas.

The figures present a clear warning to government urgent investment is needed to comply with legal obligations and achieve the measures in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Chantelle Grundy, Access and Environment Officer for British Canoeing, said: “We all see the visual impact of plastic pollution in our rivers, however this report highlights the shocking truth of the hidden pollution we cannot see. Clearly urgent action is needed to protect our treasured blue spaces.”

In a year which has seen unprecedented growth in paddlesports, there has never been a more important time to improve the water quality and overall health of our waterways.

Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: ‘Chemicals, sewage, manure, and plastic are polluting our rivers, invasive weeds are choking them, and climate change and over-use are drying them out. Urgent investment is needed now to turn our suffering waters into thriving blue corridors for wildlife. It means investment, industry change, and improved standards are essential, with the legal underpinning in the Environment Bill to make our waters well again.’

British Canoeing is committed to playing a key role in improving the health of our rivers and is an active member of the #EndSewagePollution Coalition urging government to take action to deliver:

  • An enhanced water quality testing regime
  • World leading legislation
  • Nature based solutions to sewage pollution
  • Urgent investment.

You can get involved and make your voice heard on this matter by signing the #EndSewagePollution Petition