I was pleased to visit the World Wildlife Fund’s innovative ‘A River Runs Through It’ display in Parliament; celebrating nature and highlighting the problems facing rivers in England and Wales.
The spectacle includes a ‘river’ running through the Upper Waiting Hall -; a busy thoroughfare for Members of Parliament -; and collaborative artwork by local children and artist Layla Andrews.
WWF campaigners talked to me about the challenges facing rivers, including our own River Don. I’m backing the WWF’s call for the Government to tackle river pollution and over abstraction.
Although there have been improvements in protecting river and freshwater wildlife in recent decades, it’s unacceptable that four out of five rivers in England and Wales are failing to reach the required health standards as a result of pollution of farms and sewage, and unsustainable abstraction.
Brexit also poses risks to the environmental standards introduced through the EU, and the enforcement regime it offers -; something I’m challenging as a Shadow Brexit Minister.
The exhibit follows the recent WWF report, Flushed Away, that found 80% of rivers in England and Wales are unhealthy, and up to 40% are polluted with sewage.