Read the third installment from our CEO, Laurence, as he discusses rivers on the political agenda ahead of the upcoming General Election.

Vote for Rivers

“The role of charities is to not be Political with a big P, where you support individual parties, but we can be political with a small p, where we try and make the state of our rivers an issue for everyone – politicians included.

“I am not sure if it is the state of our rivers, or the state of our media but I cannot open a newspaper or switch on the radio or a screen without hearing about what a water company has done (or not done), a flood in a village due to agricultural run-off or pollution from our roads and towns.

“Last year we were gripped with one of the worst droughts on record and we have just come off the wettest Spring on record.

“Climate change has shifted the dial and we need our politicians and wider society to realise we need to shift the dial back.

“There’s a lot of rhetoric about holding water companies to account, which is absolutely the right thing to do and investment is needed and it is needed now, but on its own it will not solve the problems we face.

“There are some pernicious problems like the flooding and drought we see but there are also some more hidden problems that few see or care about.

“Salmon are an iconic species and are seen are one of the apex species of our amazing rivers.

“They rely on the whole ecosystem being in perfect harmony so it provides them with plentiful and clean spawning gravels and an abundance of invertebrate foods.

“There used to be huge numbers swimming up our rivers but just like the insects on our windscreens, numbers have been decimated and populations are now endangered.

“Now more than ever we need to push society and our politicians to understand and act on this bigger picture where it is not just the rivers that need protecting but the catchments that feed them.

“This means working in an integrated way with our farmers to understand what we need from our land and making sure we can support them to deliver the resilience we need.

“Alongside this we need to be getting our rivers and our communities ready for the current and future climate, not just for our own survival but also for that of the wildlife that lives in them.

“It’s time to Vote for Rivers.”