Four of those are in Northumberland, and the other is the Caletwr in Conwy, Wales, according to the Environment Agency (EA) Assessment, which also revealed that only 26% of rivers are in Good status (the required European standard).
‘There’s no doubt that the millions of pounds invested by the water industry over the past two decades has brought real improvements,’ says Mark Avery of the RSPB. ‘But these figures show how far we have to go.’
Defra Minister Hilary Benn has three months to decide if the EA’s plans are ambitious enough. It has to achieve the new European Water Framework Directive, which requires the UK to bring all of its rivers up to Good status or above by 2015. At present, only 300 rivers are predicted to fulfil that brief.
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