Angling Trust:  375,386 people have called on the European Commission to defend Europe’s strong water law, making the EU’s public consultation on the legislation, the third largest ever in the history of the European Union. This law is critical to ensure that Europe’s rivers, lakes and wetlands are protected and brought back to good health.

The Angling Trust was part of the NGO-led #ProtectWater campaign, which inspired citizens across Europe and beyond to take a stand for Europe’s rivers, lakes and wetlands, and the strong law which protects them, the EU Water Framework Directive, during the European Commission’s ongoing fitness-check. Over recent months the Angling Trust mobilised its members and supporters to defend the water law, calling on ambassadors such as television star Jeremy Wade to help promote the campaign.

“375,386 citizens have spoken up for Europe’s precious rivers, lakes and wetlands, and against their ongoing destruction. They have told their governments loud and clear not to undermine the EU water law – decision-makers must now listen up and take these voices seriously”, said Ester Asin, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office, “With 60% of Europe’s waters in a critical state, the need for action from Member States is urgent. They were meant to put a stop to this destruction when they signed up to the Water Framework Directive in 2000, but, instead, have spent the best part of two decades brazenly side-stepping their commitments and not implementing it. We urge them to own up to their inaction today and, instead of pushing for this law to be changed, take citizens’ views on board.”

Mark Owen, Head of Freshwater for the Angling Trust and representative for the European Anglers Alliance, added: “Only 14% of UK rivers are currently classed as healthy. The last thing that anglers want is to see this legislation changed to allow governments to further pollute our waterways. What we need is for them to properly implement the Water Framework Directive – they have spent 19 years desperately trying to avoid these responsibilities and are running out of time.”

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