It has been quite a while since we saw a petition relevant to our rivers, but now we have two at once!
The first is a parliamentary petition at the behest of Salmon and Trout Conservation UK. They have published a report on the Environment Agency’s role in protecting and enhancing the rivers, lakes and streams of England over the twenty-five years since its formation. The section headings of the report give a very good summary of the ground they cover:
- Twenty-five years of the EA
- The state of the freshwater aquatic environment in England
- How has the EA been performing?
- Inadequate monitoring
- Operator self-monitoring – an invitation to cheat?
- Poor inspection rates
- Declining responses to public reports of pollution
- Weak enforcement and vanishing prosecutions
- The pernicious effect of deregulation, guidance and codes on the EA
- Why has the EA been performing so poorly?
- Declining funding and staffing
- Conclusions and recommendations
It is an interesting and reasoned document, which you can read in full here
The S&TC seek to improve the position by requiring the Government to reverse years of cuts to Agency budgets, increase charges for polluters, and give the Agency freedom from overly business-friendly Government codes and guidance, so it can pursue and achieve its principle statutory objective to protect and enhance English rivers.
Please sign the petition.
Second up, and in a similar vein, is the Angling Trust, who summarise as follows
- All our water bodies assessed under the Water Framework Directive are failing chemical pollution standards.
- Only 16% of waters assessed under the Water Framework Directive met the “good” standard (the same level as the last assessment in 2016).
- In 2019, combined sewage overflows (CSOs) released raw sewage into our waterways 204,134 times, for a total duration of 1.53 million hours.
- The discharges from 3,400 CSOs are still not monitored.
- Since 2010 the Environment Agency has seen its budget cut by 57%.
- Too often polluters are not held to account and are simply getting away with polluting our waters.
- Better monitoring of our rivers, lakes, canals and coastal waters.
- Proper enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
- Stricter penalties against polluters to discourage them from polluting again.
- Review of existing laws to help close loopholes.
They too are calling upon the government to provide enough funding to Environment Agency, Natural Resource Wales and Natural England to ensure they are able to carry out fully their statutory duties, as well as calling for more action on monitoring and prosecuting pollution.
You may sign up to this petition here
We will monitor the progress of these petitions and report back in due course.