River stock photo

The Rivers Trust urges new PM to seize the economic opportunities in a blue-green recovery

The Rivers Trust’s CEO has today urged new Prime Minister Liz Truss to seize the huge economic opportunities from restoring the natural environment and safeguarding the nation’s water supplies for the future.

Emily Cooper

06/09/22

Mark Lloyd warned the new Prime Minister against a deregulatory agenda, saying that it could unpick important environmental protections, and encouraged her instead to focus on bringing together a wide range of organisations to develop collaborative solutions to the urgent biodiversity, climate and water crises.

Mark Lloyd said: “We want the new PM to recognise that, despite the urgent cost of living issues she faces, she will be remembered in the long term for whether or not she rises to face the big issues of the day and of our generation – the climate and biodiversity crises. She will be judged on whether she has the foresight and skill to address these complex problems and shift the government towards taking a lead on these with proper strategic planning, rather than knee-jerk reactions to short term crises.”

We absolutely need to fix the economy, but short termism will not pay off and we want to see her making structural changes that will prepare us for the long term. The environment is not an optional cost – it is our life-support system, and we need to prioritise nature’s recovery and ensure that polluters’ pay to clean up their mess, not tax payers. The current poor state of our rivers is a measure of how badly prepared we are to face future droughts and climate shocks.

The Prime Minister must ensure that:

  1. Our environmental regulators are equipped to do the job at hand, they must have adequate budgets to conduct more farm visits and to hold water companies to account to stop sewage pollution in our rivers.
  2. We don’t backtrack on some of the important gains that have been made, and new developments don’t push our rivers past tipping-points of nutrient pollution and water scarcity. We also must keep pushing for cleaner energy, to address the Climate Crisis, and more fracking is a absolute no-go, not just from a carbon perspective, but because this drought has highlighted how important our groundwater is and we cannot afford to pollute it with dangerous fracking.
  3. We must build back wetter and fast-track the No Regrets options that Nature Based Solutions give us to prevent flooding and slow the flow for drought. We don’t have time in our current economic and environmental climate to solve on problem at a time. We have to work with nature to solve our flood, drought, food and nature crises in a joined-up way and that means providing a clear spatial planning framework that involves all parties working towards clear objectives.
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