As more rivers in the UK are contaminated with sewage and non-biodegradable waste, a significant amount of investment will be needed to clean-up.
The head of Environment Agency has been urged by wildlife and countryside campaigners to intensify the key rules which have been driving the clean-up of rivers in the country. As of today, only 14 per cent of rivers are judged as good.
Following a speech by Sir James Bevan which suggested weakening the EU water framework directive, environmental sector officials wrote to him saying that the move would be a backward step.
In his speech to business leaders, Bevan said that he intended to revoke the “one-out-of-all rule which required rivers to pass four stringent tests before being judged as good under the directive.
The letter stated: “In light of growing public concern about water pollution, over-abstraction of sensitive rivers and streams, and serious ongoing shortcomings in water quality, any weakening of water framework standards would be a backward step.
“The water environment is a system, and all parts of that system need to be in good working order for it to operate effectively. That principle remains true and the clarity of the ‘one-out-all-out’ rule should not be abandoned.”
Leading figures in the environmental sector called for significant investment to clean-up rivers in England so that they meet the target of 75 per cent by 2027.
The Environmental agency said since “we have left the EU”, any issues concerning environmental regulation are now a subject of discussion.