New campaign to ensure only rain enters London’s rivers

Stinking waste from toilets, washing machines and sinks is currently going straight into the capital’s waterways with devastating effects on wildlife and local public spaces as the result. The Only Rain in Rivers campaign aims to tackle the issue and raise awareness among Londoners in order to reduce the problem.

It remains one of the more hidden threats to our waterways, not always visible to the naked eye, even though it is likely to get picked up by the nose. Unfiltered waste, from as many as 1 in 10 properties in London, accidentally draining into our rain sewers and ending up polluting our rivers every single day.

This significant and ongoing problem is directly due to bad plumbing and lack of awareness but the good news is that it is easy to resolve. Only Rain in Rivers seeks to provide the solutions for Londoners and engage them in helping to clean up their local open spaces and waterways by making simple changes at home and at work. Among other things, the campaign asks Londoners to pledge to check their properties for misconnected plumbing and to think about what they put down the toilet, the kitchen sink and the local drains.

Charlotte Heron, Only Rain in Rivers Project Officer said: “We want Londoners to feel connected to their local waterway and to realise that what they do at home and at work can affect their local environment. Please make your pledge today to show you care about the river, canal or pond near you!”

Rob Gray, Chair of Friends of the River Crane Environment said; “We are all too aware of the problems to our local river caused by misconnected plumbing.   Therefore we welcome the “Only Rain in Rivers” initiative and hope it will both improve the quality of the River Crane and link people more intimately with their local environment.”

For more on how to get involved, please visit the Only Rain in Rivers pledge site:


For more information please contact Only Rain in Rivers Project Coordinator Charlotte Heron, mobile: 07500 842 283,

Editors’ notes:

The Only Rain in Rivers project is a partnership project between Thames21, the Environment Agency and Thames Water and is supported by London Wildlife Trust, Canal and River Trust and Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE). Operating primarily in 3 areas of London: Crane Park in Twickenham, Queensbury Rec in Brent and Harrow Lodge Park in Havering.

Thames21 is an environmental charity (registered number 1103997) which works with thousands of volunteers each year to improve London’s rivers, canals and ponds.

Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE) is a registered charity helping deliver improvements to the environment of the Crane valley in West London.

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