River Action’s new Charter for Rivers

The campaigning environmental charity River Action UK has launched a new Charter for Rivers. 

Ahead of local elections in England during in May 2023, and the UK’s probable General Election in 2024, the Charter calls for all political parties to commit to restoring our rivers to health by 2030.

The full text of the new Charter for Rivers can be found HERE.

In essence, alongside the Rivers Trust, Wildlife Trusts, Angling Trust and other environmental organisations, WTT supports the aims and intentions of the Charter for Rivers – though we also believe that it could be more ambitious or specific in some areas, e.g.

  • Environmental regulators such as the Environment Agency need to be appropriately funded – and then fully empowered to perform their regulatory role.
  • The deadline of 2030 is probably very ambitious, even with a blank cheque book and total buy-in from everyone involved. However, specific milestone targets could be set on the way to 2030 and beyond, so that the governments of the day can be held to account. In practice, this approach might look quite similar to the original format of the Water Framework Directive: a stepwise progression with meaningful and measurable progress before 2030, and consolidation beyond.
  • Most campaigning at present is focused on water quality, and to some extent water quantity. Over half the rivers of England and Wales are also failing to reach healthy standards because of physical modification’ – destructive, large-scale reshaping, such as dredging and straightening, which in many cases dates back hundreds of years. In reality, this is a challenge which will still need to be addressed, and funded, long after the problems of water quality and quantity have been solved!
River Action Charter for Rivers poster