a split-screen image of life beneath the water in a river with a person walking along the riverbank above

State of Our Rivers

Healthy rivers are a powerful ally in mitigating the effects of climate change; they can protect communities from flood and drought events, and they bolster ecosystem and biodiversity resilience. Yet, the majority of our rivers in the UK & Ireland are far from healthy.

Combining data, insightful maps, and illuminating case studies, the State of Our Rivers 2024 Report is the latest report from The Rivers Trust that dives into the data and evidence offering us an insight into just how our rivers in the UK and Ireland are doing.

We need our rivers, and they need us. Our vital rivers are plagued by sewage, chemical, nutrient and plastic pollution. We’ve heavily modified them and removed natural features so that they no-longer function as they should. This makes the effects of pollution much worse and leaves rivers less able to respond to the pressures of climate change.

The data is clear: Our rivers are in a desperate state of affairs:

  • No single stretch of river in England or Northern Ireland is in good overall health.
  • Just 15% of English, 31% of Northern Irish and 50% of Irish river stretches reach good ecological health standards.
  • Toxic chemicals that remain in ecosystems for decades pollute every stretch of English rivers.

Dive into the full report for more statistics, and discover the reasons for our rivers' failing health, then use our tool to contact your elected representative.

Read the Report

Learn more about what impacts your local river, the various sources of pollution and what can (and should) be done about it.

We need to stand up for our rivers, and we need our representatives to fight for them too.

Join us in demanding better for our essential freshwater blue spaces. Use the handy tool below to find the contact details of your local political representative, then copy the draft email template that is generated with their details. Paste it into your own email provider, personalise it with your own stories or concerns if you can, and press send. Together, we can make change happen.

Email your local political representative

Read our previous State of Our Rivers Reports:

We regularly produce these reports, providing an up-to-date resource filled with data and insights. 2024 is our latest release, but you can access previous iterations below.

Read the 2021 State of Our Rivers Report

Get your hands on a State of Our Rivers T-shirt!

Proudly show off your support for our rivers with the State of Our Rivers t-shirt, sweater and tote collection, created in collaboration with independent artist Pip Claffey and inspired by the report.

Header image credit: Zena Holloway

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