Liberal Democrats call to save our rivers

Oldham Liberal Democrats are calling for the UK Government to do more to improve the water quality of Britain’s rivers as one of their commitments at the upcoming COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

Crompton Councillor Dave Murphy and Shaw Councillor Hazel Gloster will be proposing a motion to the next meeting of Oldham Council (3 November 2021) highlighting the urgent need for action, after discovering that the borough’s watercourses all failed recent tests for chemical pollution carried out by the Environment Agency and that the rivers Irk and Tame are under real threat.

Proposer of the motion, Councillor Murphy said: “It is shocking that in 2019 only 14% of England’s rivers were rated ‘good’ by the Environment Agency, despite Conservative Government promises to improve the quality of watercourses over time. Poorer water quality has an adverse impact upon the aquatic, bird and insect life that inhabits our watercourses and the humans who visit them for recreational purposes.

Councillor Dave Murphy

“The damage is caused by the run-off of nutrients from farms and raw sewerage discharged water companies, and the rivers Irk and Tame are cited as being particularly in danger, but government funding to enable the Environment Agency to monitor and check these activities has been cut by 75% in the last decade.”

Seconding the motion, Councillor Hazel Gloster added: “Not only do we want the Environment Agency’s budget to be restored to enable it to effectively identify and prosecute offenders, but we want the National Farmers’ Union and United Utilities to account for the actions of those members and employees who engage in polluting activities and tell us what they are doing to make things right.”

Concluding Councillor Murphy said: “The COP26 conference in Glasgow will focus the world’s attention on what the UK is doing, or is pledged to do, to address climate change and the impact of mankind’s activities on the natural world. As one of those commitments, we want the UK Government to clean up Britain’s rivers so we can all continue to enjoy them

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