British Canoeing has submitted its feedback to the government following its plan to improve water quality and tackle sewage in the UK’s rivers.
This was a slight improvement on 2020, when sewage was let go 400,000 times, at 3.1 million hours.
British Canoeing has since responded to the government’s consultation on their plan to tackle sewage and improve water quality.
Their proposals set out targets on how it expects to reduce the harm from storm overflows, as required under the Environment Act 2021.
However, the ambition and timescales were disappointing. Under the plan, half of storm overflows would still be spilling untreated sewage in 2040 and clearly this is unacceptable.
British Canoeing would support clear targets to increase the number of inland bathing waters, to ensure the same level of protection of public health whether paddling on the coast or inland.– British Canoeing
British Canoeing said: “We are pleased to see that there are targets included for reducing sewage discharges into bathing waters, which will be of particular benefit to coastal paddlers.
“However, the targets set out only cover a fraction of waters enjoyed by paddlers. Currently, there are only two designated river bathing waters where water quality is officially monitored for harmful bacteria.
“Yet there are 42,700 miles of inland waterways in England. While the plan acknowledges that the number of bathing waters is likely to increase, it fails to set a target.
“British Canoeing would support clear targets to increase the number of inland bathing waters, to ensure the same level of protection of public health whether paddling on the coast or inland.
“The timeline for action should be much more ambitious, it is out of step with other proposed government environment targets on pollution reduction and fails to protect public health.
“British Canoeing wants to see targets set for water companies, with a higher and more immediate action to reduce harm by 2030.”
Read our full response, here.