Rivers are at their cleanest since records began

A A A

Britain's rivers are at their cleanest since records began, the Government said yesterday, announcing the results of the latest water quality tests.

Britain's rivers are at their cleanest since records began, the Government said yesterday, announcing the results of the latest water quality tests.

Across the UK, 95 per cent of rivers were rated good or fair in 1999, compared with 92 per cent in 1990. Over the same period, there has been a 31 per cent overall improvement in the chemical quality of rivers and canals. By region, improvements ranged from 24 per cent in the South to 41 per cent in the North-west.

In addition to good and fair ratings, almost 8 per cent of all rivers met their River Quality objectives in 1999 - an improvement of 3 per cent over the past year.

Rivers in the industrialised North and Midlands are among those which have shown the most dramatic improvements, according to the Environment Agency.

They include the Don, Aire, Rother and Calder in industrial Yorkshire, which until recently were among the country's dirtiest watercourses, and largely devoid of life, but are all now supporting substantial fish populations. More than 30 miles each of the Don and Aire have been cleaned up, and nearly 20 miles of the Rother, while the Calder is cleaner along most of its length. Other notable improvements have occurred to the river Erewash in Nottinghamshire, the Soar in Leicestershire and the river Lee north of London.

The Government has set a target to improve water quality further so that 91 per cent of rivers will meet their objectives by 2005. Improvements have been achieved though substantial investment by water companies in sewage disposal, tougher regulation and enforcement, and greater pollution prevention by the Environment Agency, the Government said. A further £7bn will be spent on improvements over the next five years.

"The billions being invested in cleaning up our rivers are really bearing fruit," said Michael Meacher, the Environment Minister. "These are the best-ever water quality results and they reflect the Government's firm commitment to delivering a cleaner, better quality environment for everyone to enjoy.

"Clean rivers are not only a vital source of water for drinking and industry, they also support a wide variety of wildlife and are enjoyed by millions for recreation. That is why river water quality is one of the Government's 15 sustainable development headline indicators, measuring how much our quality of life is improving."

* The site where beavers may be reintroduced into Scotland has been named as Knapdale Forest, in Argyll, owned by the Forestry Commission.

Twelve European beavers (which, unlike their North American cousins, do not often build dams) will be released in a trial there next year if the project from Scottish Natural Heritage, the Government's wildlife agency north of the border, is given the go-ahead.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn