There is serious momentum developing around the failures on many levels to address the worsening, chronic pollution of our rivers from many sources. This comes soon after England’s shocking water classification results showed just 16% of water bodies meet the criteria for Good Ecological Status against 25 Year Environment Plan’s target of 75%. 

Newspapers like the Times continue to run hostile editorials blaming the Environment Agency – which have been stoutly rebuffed by Emma Howard Boyd.

There are a variety of reasons for this failure. The Government have eviscerated the funding of environmental agencies – in the EA’s case by over 50%. But then there is ‘light touch regulation’ to blame as well and no money for monitoring. This week Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan has said there is “no good regulatory framework” in place to help the regulator get to grips with pollution from farms and that it does not have the resources to “tackle it effectively”. (ENDS – this is behind a pay wall)

The Conservative Government came to power in 2010 claiming ‘We will leave our environment in a better state than we found it’.  Well, for rivers they have failed, and it’s not hard to see who is responsible. Decades of progress turned on its head so that river pollution is firmly back on the agenda. Hugely disappointing. You can read the Defra response to latest EA report here

Bob Earll

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