20 April 2001
Farm pollution fails UK rivers

By FWi staff

SOME major British rivers will be unable to meet new EU rules on water quality because of pollution from farms, according to a new report.

A study by the Worldwide Fund for Nature says standards of some rivers and wetlands are worse than those found in Eastern Europe.

WWFs Water and Wetland Index has named the rivers Trent and Severn as needing major restoration works to comply with new EU water legislation.

A key problem identified is pollution from pesticides and fertilisers used in agriculture and water extraction for farming.

However, the WWF says UK rivers as a whole are in relatively good health, but claims that other wetlands are under constant threat.

“Wetlands are like sponges in the landscape, soaking up water during heavy rains and helping to prevent floods,” said WWF freshwater campaigner, David Tickner.

The WWF is calling for investment in freshwater care to meet the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive.

The National Farmers Union says it is working in partnership with water companies to try to reduce pesticide pollution.

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