Women playing in the river

COVID pandemic fails to slow the flow of the Rivers Trust movement

2020 proved an outstanding year for the Rivers Trust movement, as we publish our review of the year this week. Despite some setbacks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, many environmental improvements were still undertaken on a large scale.

Rebecca Duncan


Infographic showing Rivers Trusts' impact in 2020

Read the Rivers Trust Review

Find out what our movement achieved in 2020.

In addition to these on-the-ground achievements, The Rivers Trust has taken the fight against sewage pollution to the forefront of public conversation since it shared its map of raw sewage discharges in July 2020. The map had over 116,000 hits in six months; the government established the Sewer Storm Overflows Taskforce with water industry and eNGO representation; and the UK got its first ever designated river bathing water.

The Rivers Trust Review is an essential round-up of all the work across the Rivers Trust movement – comprised of more than 60 local Trusts. From removing dams and weirs so freshwater fish species can return to their historic spawning grounds to providing volunteer opportunities for people experiencing social isolation or mental health issues, Rivers Trusts are an invaluable asset to their local communities. As a collective movement, we are able to undertake genuine environmental improvements, at scale.

The Review highlights some top moments of 2020 and explores case studies which show the incredible impact and resilience of the movement.

  • Tackling plastic pollution from source to sea: The Preventing Plastic Pollution project was launched, a collaboration between 18 partners across England and France to investigate and combat plastic pollution from source to sea.
  • Bringing back our precious fish species: After nearly half a century as one of the first and widest barriers to fish migration in the River Ribble, Salmesbury Weir was removed, allowing fish to swim return upstream for spawning.
  • Green finance for flood prevention: The Wyre Natural Flood Management (NFM) Investment Readiness project represents a pioneering effort to secure innovative funding opportunities for the introduction of NFM measures. Investments will be paid back over several years by organisations which will benefit from reduced flood risk.
  • People for rivers, rivers for people: Despite COVID restrictions, Thames21 continued their Urban River Regeneration: Restoring Brent Rivers and Communities project, working with partners such as GPs and local mental health charity Ashford Place to enact social prescribing to benefit people and rivers in some of Greater London’s most deprived areas.
Support Community River Brent 2020

Join our fight for wild, healthy, natural rivers

We work with our member trusts to make our shared vision a reality: wild, healthy, natural rivers, valued by all.

We want all life to thrive in and around our rivers. To do this, we need you to join us in saving and savouring them.

  • Sign up to our newsletter: signing up to our newsletter will ensure you stay up to date on our latest campaigns and river health.
  • Donate: donations provide us with much needed unrestricted funding, enabling us to focus on the issues we believe are most critical for the future of our rivers. Whether you make a one-off contribution or commit to a monthly donation, every penny can make a difference.
  • Fundraise: with restrictions easing and the weather warming up, now is the perfect time to organise a fundraiser. Fundraising is a great way to raise money to support our cause while having a blast at the same time.
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