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The Angling Trust and its partners in the Our Rivers Coalition met with Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies by the Thames on Wednesday ahead of the publication of controversial plans for the UK’s waterways.

Angling Trust Fishing NewsEarlier this year, a report revealed that three quarters of rivers in England and Wales are failing European targets on environmental quality. But in the majority of cases the Environment Agency’s official plans – due to be published next month - fail to set out action to tackle the problems such as pollution from fertilisers and over abstraction, which threaten river wildlife.

The Our Rivers Campaign was set up by the Angling Trust, the Association of Rivers Trusts, the RSPB and WWF UK, to help encourage people who know and care about their local river to fill the gaps in understanding.

In an attempt to persuade him to make last minute changes to the plans, campaigners met with Mr Irranca-Davies by the bank of the Thames to hand over a map of all the rivers adopted by supporters, river action groups and MPs during the campaign.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust said “The Water Framework Directive presented the Environment Agency with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our rivers and the way that they we manage water, and the land around it.

"But the draft plans are lacking in ambition, they fail to capture the knowledge of anglers and others who have an intimate knowledge of their rivers and much of the information in them is simply incorrect. These new plans don’t even offer a vision of what we would like to achieve, let alone how we might achieve it. If Government fails to make significant changes before the plans are published, they will have blown it. Anglers are dismayed”.
“The problems are plain to see – pollution killing fish and causing algae and weed to choke our water ways, river beds drying up, invasive species like signal crayfish destroying riverbank ecosystems and more besides,” said RSPB conservation director Mark Avery.
“These plans are supposed to provide a blueprint for bringing the standard of our rivers up to an acceptable level, but there is so much vital information missing it’s difficult to have confidence in them. The whole publication is like a crossword with most of the clues missing – and unless changes are made now we will never get the solutions that our ailing rivers so desperately need.”
Arlin Rickard, director of the Association of Rivers Trusts, said: “Our members were asked to feed into these plans with positive proposals for how to deal with the many environmental problems our rivers are struggling against.

“But despite our extensive knowledge of local rivers gained through many years of dedicated conservation work along their banks, many of our suggestions have failed to appear in the final plans which are limited in their vision. We are doing all we can to help the Government meet its 2015 water target but currently there is a lack of clarity as to how the work on the ground will be funded or delivered.”

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Published in Latest UK fishing news

Launch of London's first ever action plan to reclaim and restore some of the city's 'lost' and neglected rivers.Rejuvenating 15 kilometres of waterways to create a better place for wildlife and Londoners.

London’s first action plan to restore the capital’s rivers and create a better place for people and wildlife was launched today (Thursday).

Plan to restore London’s lost and neglected riversRiver quality in the River Thames has improved greatly since the industrial revolution but the many tributaries still suffer from the 20th century legacy of confining rivers in concrete channels. The London Rivers Action Plan (LRAP) aims to restore these rivers to their natural state, creating a more sustainable city, as well as reduce flood risk and improving the environment for all.

The aim is to restore 15 kilometres of Thames tributaries by 2015, on rivers such as the Roding, Wandle, Colne and many others. An example of the positive benefits of river restoration is in Greenwich, southeast London, where a section of the River Quaggy has been brought out of its underground culvert and into a landscaped park. The river now flows visibly across Sutcliffe Park, creating wetlands with cycleways, footpaths and open spaces. It has become a valuable community asset and a haven for many forms of wildlife including kingfishers and several types of dragonfly.

The London Rivers Action Plan, produced in partnership by the Greater London Authority, Environment Agency, Natural England and voluntary organisation including the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust, London Wildlife Trust and WWF UK will help all organisations such as government agencies, private developers and voluntary groups work together to achieve improved rivers.

Isabel Dedring, Director of Environmental Policy for the Mayor of London, said: “This plan will deliver aesthetic benefits but will also help us prepare for our changing climate. Restoring our rivers will play a part in making London a more attractive place for people to come to live and invest.”

Many of London’s rivers were built into heavily engineered channels to combat flooding and enable urban development. However, today’s aspiration is to create a more natural environment to adapt to climate change and a growing city.

Dave Webb, Project Manager for the Environment Agency, said: ‘We are striving to improve London’s most damaged rivers, and we believe we can create important habitats and improve every Londoner’s life with new open spaces.

“River restoration can also reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses, and with the pressures of climate change this is yet another compelling reason to take care of our environment.”

Today’s announcement also feeds into the Environment Agency’s plans aimed at improving rivers and wetlands in England and Wales, which are currently undergoing public consultation. For more details visit

As well as the action plan, the main tool will be an interactive website at, maintained by the River Restoration Centre, which will contain a database of opportunities to work in partnership on river restoration, advice and information, as well as best practice examples.

Source: The Environment Agency

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Published in Latest UK fishing news

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