The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is launching an inquiry into water quality in rivers. The deadline for submissions is Friday 5th February 2021.
Across the UK our waterways are in crisis. In the face of the ongoing threats of both the climate crisis and ecological breakdown, our rivers are also suffocating from a continual onslaught of pollution. This not only further exacerbates environmental degradation but is also a huge risk to public health and has a potential range of devastating socio-economic consequences for sectors like angling that are reliant upon healthy waters.
Last week it was announced that the Environment Agency has dramatically reduced its attendance to water pollution incidents in light of the coronavirus crisis, raising fears that polluters are getting away with more than ever before. With data from the Environment Agency showing that only 16% of English rivers met good ecological status and no river met good chemical status under the Water Framework Directive, the dire state of our rivers has never been more apparent. It is not time for slacking but time for action.
As anglers we are the eyes and ears for our rivers. Through the Angling Trust’s Anglers Against Pollutioncampaign, we are calling for the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to take more action to monitor pollution across rivers, lakes and coastal waters, and to ensure proper management and enforcement are put in place to hold polluters to account.
We welcome this inquiry into the water quality of UK rivers as an important step toward better management and enforcement we desperately need to improve the water quality of our rivers. The Angling Trust will be submitting evidence to the inquiry and we encourage anglers to do the same.
Dr. Emily Smith, Environment Manager, said “This year more anglers than ever been getting out to enjoy our countryside, and some have discovered angling for the first time. However, beneath the surface, our rivers and fish populations are threatened by vast quantities of untreated sewage being discharged directly into the water. Here at the Angling Trust we have been calling for polluters to be held accountable, and for laws to be properly enforced to stop these events occurring. We welcome this inquiry and the opportunity to shed light on this critical issue and finally bring about the much needed change to the way pollution is monitored, reported and regulated.”
The Angling Trust will shortly be publishing guidance for anglers who want to provide a response to this inquiry.