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Confusion reigns over water quality figures

March 2015

Our rivers are among our most iconic landscapes, but in England, at least, all is not well. Rob Cunningham, head of Water Policy at the RSPB looks at the numbers and they don't look good ... and you have a chance to add your voice.

How healthy are English rivers? Sounds like a question we should be able to answer given thousands of monitoring results the Environment Agency gather across the river network annually. But the recent announcement that just 17% of river waterbodies are meeting the Good Status target set by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) leaves me more confused than enlightened. After all just 6 years ago we were told by the EA that 22% of English rivers were at Good and that this would improve to 32% by 2015 – have things gone so terribly wrongs since then?

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