Restoring river health: priorities for government

This event has already taken place
15:30 – 16:30 16 March, 2023


Every single river in England is polluted beyond legal limits, with threats from sewage, agricultural and chemical pollution and water abstraction. Our wildlife is disappearing, and our rivers are not fit to swim in.

Public interest in water quality has risen exponentially. As more data becomes available, awareness has grown on the severity and systemic nature of the crisis, with high profile media coverage and political tugs of war making water quality one of the hottest environmental topics.

New targets have been agreed through the Environment Act, but the framework of water quality laws inherited from the EU is at risk of being scrapped or watered down through the Retained EU Law Bill.

New bathing waters are being proposed, although most rivers are not included in official bathing water quality statistics.

Nutrient neutrality debates are raging but is there consensus on how this should be tackled?

Consensus is building for catchment partnerships to drive action regionally, but do they have the necessary governance and resources to deliver and how will they link to local nature recovery strategies to ensure action improve water quality and nature?

On Thursday 16 March 2023, our expert panel discussed these issues followed by an audience Q&A.


  • Chair: Sarah Mukherjee, CEO, IEMA
  • Ali Morse, water policy manager, The Wildlife Trusts
  • Amy Slack, campaigns manager, River Action
  • Alastair Chisholm, director of policy at The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management

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