River Friendly Council Checklist

There is a lot that London’s local authorities could do to improve the health of the rivers that flow through them. At present, too few people know that what goes down the drain can end up in a river if the system isn’t working properly, and councils are well placed to help spread this message.

We would like councils to use their websites, newspapers and newsletters to give people the information they need to make an informed choice.

So far the check list for a ‘River Friendly Council’ looks like this:

A River Friendly Council:

  •  Tells people about the danger of household misconnections, ie: connecting a waste water pipe to a drainpipe which could lead to a river (to find out if you live in an area where this can happen click here Connect Right Postcode Search)
  • Uses, or plans to use Sustainable Drainage Systems to: reduce local street flooding, reduce the risk of sewer overflows and to filter road run-off before it enters a river
  • Advertises the Environment Agency Pollution Reporting number 0800 80 70 60
  • Ensures all of its Building Control Officers understand the risks of river pollution from misconnections arising from home refurbishments and new developments
  • Tells people they have to use porous paving if they are planning to surface their front garden. Rain has to be able to get through. Too few people know the law changed in 2008 – Government guidance webpages
  • Enforces the planning regulations that require porous paving to be used for front drives.
  • Promotes collaboration between Environmental Protection Departments and Building Control
  • Inform businesses of their responsibilities in relation to water use and waste, and the risks of river pollution
  • Produces an annual ‘river action plan’ with a review every 12 months

If you have more ideas how your council can be river friendly email theo.thomas@thames21.org.uk