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Here Comes The Summer: but are our waterways safe to be enjoyed recreationally?

19 April 2021

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) will be hearing from leading academics and environmental campaigners as part of the inquiry considering the Water quality in rivers, following revelations that water companies discharged raw sewage into rivers in England more than 400,000 times in 2020.

The evidence session follows the recent BBC Panorama episode which exposed the harsh realities of the quality of our rivers. From piles of wet wipes lining the River Thames to sanitary towels in the River Wharfe, and excess sewage discharge by water companies, it is clear that we are facing a crisis in the state of our rivers.

During Wednesday’s session, the EAC will discuss with the first panel the role of citizen science and campaigning efforts to improve water quality. Two of the panellists started citizen science campaigns to expose over-spilling of sewage in watercourses, and the third panellist worked for the Environment Agency for 40 years.

Meanwhile, on the second panel, the EAC will hear from leading campaigners representing river users. Feargal Sharkey, in his capacity as Chairman of Amwell Magna Fishery, will be appearing alongside the Chief Executive of Swim England and a representative of British Canoeing. They will be discussing the growing popularity of river sports and how regulation can be improved to reduce pollution.


21 April 2021

At 2.30pm:

  • Professor Peter Hammond, (retired) Professor of Computational Biology, University College London (UCL), Senior Fellow in Medical Image Analysis, University of Oxford Big Data Institute

  • Professor Rebecca Malby, Co-founder, Ilkley Clean River Group

  • Pete Lloyd, Retired water quality expert, ex- Environment Agency

At 3.30pm:

  • Feargal Sharkey, Chairman, Amwell Magna Fishery

  • Jane Nickerson, Chief Executive, Swim England

  • Ben Seal, Places to Paddle Manager, British Canoeing

Image: Pixabay