The Environment Agency has opened a six month consultation, open to all, on the future of rivers.
Its Challenges and choices consultation seeks views on how river basin districts should be managed from 2021, when the current 2015 River Basin Management Plans are due to be updated.
The agency said: “We urgently need to protect and improve our waters and find a better balance that meets the needs of people and nature.” It cited a huge range of interests which depend on rivers and the wider water environment, including health, development, industry, agriculture, the economy and wildlife.
It pointed out: “The climate crisis and a growing population are adding to these pressures and without concerted action will lead to irreparable harm to our planet, ourselves and future generations.”
The consultation, open until 24 April 2020, covers specific challenges which include:
Climate change and the biodiversity crisis
Chemicals in the water environment
Pollution in our waters
Invasive non-native species
Physical modifications to our river habitats
Ways of working.
The eight river basin districts covered by the paper are the Anglian, Humber, North West, South East, South West, Thames and Severn & Northumbria river basin districts