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English waters among the least healthy in Europe, and climate change will make this worse - Conservationists launch roadmap for restoring waters and wildlife - Wildlife and Countryside Link

Our blue spaces are vital to people & nature but they are suffering image (Wildlife & Countryside Link)
(Wildlife & Countryside Link)

21 nature organisations are calling for urgent measures to help lift England’s rivers, lakes and streams from the bottom of the water quality league table, and warn that drastic action is needed to restore wildlife habitat. Every freshwater body in England currently fails chemical standards and only 16% are classed in good ecological health compared to 53% on average in the EU.
A new report launched today (Tues 14 Sept) by Wildlife and Countryside Link’s Blueprint for Water group, warns that climate change is worsening conditions for our already beleaguered waters. Increased water-use during droughts and damage caused by flooding, which are both becoming more frequent due to climate change, are compounding the existing problems of overuse and chemical, sewage and plastic pollution for our waters.
Ali Morse, Water Policy Manager at The Wildlife Trusts, and Chair of Blueprint for Water, said: “Nature and society are already paying the price for the over-use and pollution of our waters and wetlands - wildlife is struggling to survive, our rivers are not safe to swim and play in, and as customers we pay millions to clean up water so that it’s safe to drink. And that price is going to get even steeper as we feel the effects of climate change. We’re facing a hazardous future of water shortages, flood damage and the loss of iconic species like the water vole and Atlantic salmon in England. We should all be worried that none of our rivers, lakes or streams are in good health and we have among the worst water quality in Europe. It’s time for a new vision for English waters, with adequate investment, robust pollution prevention and sustainable water use.”
Tom Fewins from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) said: “The world faces a biodiversity crisis. In the UK alone, over half of freshwater and wetland species are declining with 13% at risk of extinction. Poor water quality is helping to fuel this and the UK is very likely to miss its targets to address this. We must urgently turn this situation around – and that should include looking to the ‘nature based solutions’ that wetlands provide. This includes their amazing ability to improve water quality by filtering out a wide range of pollutants, something WWT has found out over the many years we have been creating ‘treatment’ wetlands specifically for this purpose. With a biodiversity crisis upon us the Government must now adopt wetlands as a powerful weapon in the fight to restore our missing wildlife. This means putting together the partnerships, information, plans and funding in place to create and restore 100,000ha wetlands as part of a Blue Recovery.”
Read the full report here

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