THERE are calls for more action to be taken to protect British rivers – especially with the looming European Union exit.

The Rivers Trust  think more needs to be done because an alarming 86 per cent of England’s river aren’t considered be at ‘Good Ecological Status’ within the Water Framework Directive.

This Water Framework test is a European directive that monitors waterbodies for a range of issues.

These issues include pollution from chemicals and excess nutrients, as well as the health of wildlife.

Rivers are then rated as high, good, moderate, poor or bad status.

Rivers Trust chief executive Arlin Rickard, said: “Government figures show that only 14 per cent of England’s rivers are considered healthy.

“Our rivers are under huge strain with many demands placed upon them, including abstraction and agriculture.

“Climate-change is affecting rainfall patterns and raising water temperatures with increasing frequency of droughts and floods, these pressures are only set to grow.

“Rivers Trusts feel it is vital that we work closely with the local community, anglers, farmers, landowners and industry, to help find solutions to protect the soils, water and air, for the benefit of their business, the environment and the community.”

The measurements were all taken by the Environment Agency and they are working hard to improve water quality.

‘Healthiest for 20 years,’ says EA

An EA spokesman said: “The EA has taken more than 50 million samples to monitor water quality over the past 20 years.

“In 2016, 76 per cent of the tests used to measure the health of rivers were rated good.

“However, only 14 per cent of rivers reached good ecological status overall – this is because the failure of one test means the whole water body fails to obtain good or better status.

“Independent research which shows our rivers are the healthiest they have been for 20 years.

“We will also be updating the River Basin Management Plans in 2021, which will take into consideration the aims and goals of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan,” he added.

Anglers back Rivers Trust calls

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust, said: “Our rivers and lakes are under serious threat and anglers are witnessing the disappearance of fish and other wildlife throughout England and Wales.

“Freshwater is an incredibly precious natural resource which is the lifeblood of our country and we cannot continue to pour sewage and slurry into it without seeing the collapse of natural systems on which we rely for our very existence.

“The Government has pledged to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation, but it has no hope of achieving this worthy ambition if it doesn’t improve water quality.”

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