River stock photo

The Rivers Trust response to Government’s Plan for Water

Our initial response to the government’s Plan for Water, published on 4th April 2023.

Rebecca Duncan


We welcome the release of the Government’s Plan for Water today, setting out in one document how they will address the poor state of our waterbodies. The central theme of a catchment-based approach is the only logical management scale on which to deliver solutions for our water environment and one we have extensive experience of. Ringfencing water company fines to restore the water environment is a positive step, as are actions set out on tackling plastic wet wipes and persistent chemicals, but the devil will always be in the detail when the plan moves to delivery. We look forward to working with Defra, the Environment Agency, and Natural Egnalnd to help ensure this plan kick starts a step change in the conditions of our rivers through integration and delivery.

We believe there is still too much focus on grey infrastructure and pouring concrete to solve water quality problems. Our experience has shown that nature based solutions can deliver for water quality at the same time as managing flood risk, mitigating climate change and halting the decline in biodiversity. We need more focus on using our limited time, land and money to deliver more efficiently for our environment. We still have gaps in regional governance to link the local scale to the national, and we are still waiting for a long-term overarching, outcome-based target for healthy water.

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