Yvonne Fovargue MP: i​t’s time for action on river pollution

​The Rivers Trust recently published its latest State of the Rivers Report for 2024.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

​It reports that: no single stretch of river in England is in good overall health; 15% of English river stretches reach good ecological health standards; and toxic chemicals that remain in ecosystems for decades pollute every stretch of English rivers.

I thank the Rivers Trust for its excellent and important report.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With not a single English river reported to be in good overall condition, and no improvement since the previous report in 2021, it is clear we really cannot afford further inaction.

Makerfield MP Yvonne FovargueMakerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

We should all have access to clean water.

Sewage, urban, agricultural, industrial and chemical pollution all contribute to the problem facing our rivers.

Chemical pollution comes from a wide variety of sources, including cleaning products, medicines, food, as well as plastic and microplastic pollution and road run-off through diesel, oil, petrol and tyre and road particles.

We know chemicals can persevere in the environment for weeks, months and even years, causing significant harm to wildlife.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is an environmental hazard, a health hazard and an economic hazard!

I am aware of the Office of Environmental Protection report which states that the Government is not on track with the current scale and pace of action to achieve good ecological status or potential by 2027.

I agree with the Environmental Audit Committee who said in January 2022 that ‘rivers in England are in a mess’.

I am concerned that cuts to the Environment Agency have led it to deprioritise low-level pollution incidents, leaving water companies to self-monitor and self-report.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is not going to achieve the change we need. We need strategic direction for water regulation.

We need a fair and transparent system in which everybody understands what is happening and their role in reducing pollution entering our rivers.

The Government promised a land use framework to help balance all the demands on our land, including water quality and biodiversity targets.

It has not yet published this and I will continue to follow developments.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I support a plan to tackle the sewage situation in England by 2030 by putting the water industry under special measures.

In my view, the polluter should pay, not the public.

This plan would give the water regulator, Ofwat, the power to ban the payment of bonuses to water bosses until they have cleared up sewage dumping and ensure water bosses face personal criminal liability for extreme and persistent lawbreaking.

It would also introduce severe and automatic fines for illegal discharges and force all companies to monitor every single water outlet.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.