Could specially engineered wetlands help clean up the UK's polluted waterways? - Wildfowl & Wetland Trust

WWT calls for national pilot scheme to be established in the UK by 2025

At a time when sewage and other pollutants are regularly pumped into our rivers, a new report is calling for the cleanup of our waterways to be assisted through the creation of specialised wetlands at sewage plants, on farms, in housing developments and by roads, alongside stronger regulation and financial penalties for polluters.

Evidence shows that ‘treatment wetlands’ have the potential to remove up to 90% of nitrogen pollution from agriculture and sewage. They could also remove up to 60% of heavy metals from road pollution and trap up to 90% of sediment run-off which can block out light from waterbodies.

Treatment wetlands are specially engineered habitats that absorb and break down the pollutants in water in a low maintenance and cost-effective way, so that it comes out clean once it has passed through them.

With only 14% of England’s rivers in good health and around £21.7 million lost annually due to sickness caused by polluted water, our report is asking for government and business to act now and invest in this pioneering natural solution.

We're calling for a national pilot scheme to be established in the UK by 2025, to make treatment wetlands the default option for meeting new nutrient neutrality targets and to establish and develop an effective market in nutrient trading and offsetting by creating a nutrient offsetting code.

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Posted On: 03/08/2023

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