Angling Trust reveals 83% of rivers in England polluted with phosphates, U.K.

Angling Trust reveals 83% of rivers in England suffer phosphate pollution, U.K.

The Angling Trust has released the first annual Water Quality Monitoring Network (WQMN) report, revealing that more than 80% of rivers in England are polluted with phosphates, posing an urgent need for action against waterway pollution.

The Angling Trust’s first annual Water Quality Monitoring Network (WQMN) report has brought to light the alarming state of river pollution in England. Over 80% of the monitored rivers have been found to be polluted with phosphates, a significant concern for the ecological health of waterways.

To counter this, the Angling Trust launched the WQMN pilot in May 2022, mobilizing a community of angler citizen scientists to monitor and understand the ongoing changes below the water’s surface.

As of December 2023, this initiative has seen the active participation of 641 anglers from 240 angling clubs, monitoring pollution on 190 rivers across 60 catchments. The distribution of over 400 WQMN monitoring kits has led to the collection of more than 3 800 samples, revealing the extent of pollution in English waterways.

The results from the first full year of WQMN testing, spanning July 2022 to July 2023, have been particularly concerning.

A staggering 44% of site averages for phosphate failed the England-wide upper standard for good ecological status. Furthermore, 83% of the 163 rivers with regular samples failed to meet the phosphate standard for good ecological status in at least one sample. Regions like the Medway; Swale, Ure, Nidd, and Upper Ouse; Severn Middle Worcestershire; Loddon and its tributaries, among others, recorded the highest phosphate site averages.

Jamie Cook, CEO of the Angling Trust, emphasized the crucial role of the WQMN initiative in empowering members to actively contribute to the preservation of local rivers. He pointed out the necessity of enhanced enforcement and updated laws to tackle the issue of river pollution and hold responsible parties accountable.

The Angling Trust’s Head of Campaigns, Stuart Singleton White, stressed the need for stronger regulations to ensure effective investment in areas that would lead to significant environmental improvements.

The Angling Trust plans to expand the WQMN, extending its reach to include still waters and estuaries for a more comprehensive understanding of pollution dynamics in English water courses.


1 Angling Trust calls on political parties to deliver a clear plan to tackle river pollution in General Election manifestos – Angling Trust – January 30, 2024


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One Comment

  1. It is like that in France as well. Sadly people are still using way too much fertilizer and herbicides,pesticides and what not,as if the enormous amounts of animal dung weren’t already a major source of pollution already.

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