86% of English Rivers Fail to Meet Environmental Standards

Feb. 20, 2018
Tougher restrictions may be on the horizon for farmers and water companies

According to a new report by the Environment Agency in England, 86% of English rivers are not compliant with environmental standards. The report calls for significant action in order to prevent harm to wildlife, the environment and British citizens.

The study charts the water quality and pollution incidents throughout 2016. More specifically, the report claims that roughly half the country’s ground aquifers will not be chemically compliant until 2021, mainly due to nitrates sourced from agricultural fertilizer.

It was also found that more than half of English rivers contained unacceptable phosphorus levels resulting from sewage effluent and farmland pollution, which can potentially lead to harmful algal blooms.

According to Environment Agency chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd, harsher fines need to be put in place to significantly reduce the number of pollution incidents.

“There are still far too many serious pollution incidents which damage the local environment, threaten wildlife and, in the worst cases, put the public at risk,” Boyd said. “I would like to see fines made proportionate to the turnover of the company and for the courts to apply these penalties consistently. Anything less is no deterrent.”

Other conclusions claimed by the study assert that bathing water quality is at its best ever level with 98% passing minimum standards, and also warns that population growth, climate change, emerging chemicals, plastic pollution, nanoparticles and fracking are formidable obstacles to water quality moving forward.