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SWV Rivers' Forum

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Challenges Faced On UK Rivers

Pollution of the UK’s rivers differs between the devolved nations, between industrial, rural and farming areas, from catchment to catchment. Even where people are prepared or not prepared to take ownership for their river management.


Types of pollution may have changed over the last 30 years but there is no doubt that the UK’s rivers are still very polluted. Unless there is collaborative leadership, investment and innovative focus on their management now, there will be no improvement for future generations.

Challenges include;


  • Insufficient progress in the amount of collaboration, communication and transparency between government, the water companies, environmental and recreation groups.


  • Prioritisation of infrastructure investment and resources deployed to execute.


  • An inconsistent regulatory framework and a lack of resources to enforce it.

  • An inconsistent approach to monitoring and water quality testing. There is a need for a single structure for pollution management and data capture UK-wide.


  • Insufficient recognition and enforcement of agriculture’s impact on pollution, e.g. of rising nitrate levels etc.


  • A need for more technology input and opportunities to be used to solve problems on the rivers.


  • Lack of a UK-wide approach to testing & monitoring personnel, training and fundraising.​​


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Challenges Faced On UK Rivers

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