“Not a single river in England is free from pollution”

Just 14% of English rivers meet “good ecological status”, according to the Environmental Audit Committee

Big Zero Report 2022

English rivers are facing every day a “chemical cocktail of sewage, slurry and plastic”, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has concluded.

In its shocking report, the parliamentary body suggests that the poor quality came as a result of “chronic underinvestment” and “multiple failures” in monitoring, governance and enforcement.

The EAC notes that budget cuts to the Environment Agency (EA) have hampered the ability to monitor water quality in rivers and detect permit breaches or pollution incidents from water companies and farmers.

The report found that just 14% of English rivers meet “good ecological status” and agriculture, single-use plastics, roads and agriculture are the contributing factors of the formed “chemical cocktail”.

The Committee recommended that Ofwat might have to limit the payment of bonuses to water company executives until widespread permit breaches cease.

Among the recommendations, the EAC suggests the EA should consider creating an online platform where citizen scientists can upload their data on water quality.

It also urges the National Highways to eliminate toxic chemical and plastic pollution from the roads network by 2030.

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