In December 2020, the Environmental Audit Committee opened an inquiry into water quality in rivers, focusing on the ecological health of our rivers, the water industry and urban diffuse pollution. It published its report today, including recommendations to improve water quality. Here, our CEO Debbie Leach gives T21’s response to the report.
Debbie Leach, CEO of environmental charity Thames21, said: “We very much welcome this report and its excellent recommendations, which underlines the urgency of improving our rivers. As the report highlights, our rivers are a mess and urgently need fixing.
“Water companies must invest in ending all sewage pollution and the management of land and surface water as a system (catchment-based management) to deliver healthy rivers.
“The government needs to appropriately fund and direct the EA to fulfil its duties to monitor and regulate all polluters. It must also ensure that the EA is enabled to take robust enforcement action against those who pollute to incentivise them to invest in good environmental practices.
“OFWAT need to urgently increase the prioritisation of spending for water companies to invest in environmental protection and restoration.
“All this must be done in collaboration. We need everybody to commit to this issue properly. These issues will only worsen with climate change, so it is in everyone’s interests to protect the essential river functions that we all depend upon.
“This water quality emergency requires all of us to work together in order to protect our rivers.
We urge water companies and government to act upon these recommendations.
“We want rivers that are clean and healthy for people and wildlife.”
Thames21 connects people with rivers by putting healthy rivers back at the heart of everyday life. We improve and restore rivers, educate and empower the community and campaign for positive change for the good of people and the environment.