Publication of major river health report slips

Important data setting out whether the health of England’s rivers and lakes is declining or improving will now be published next spring, despite a government commitment to release the figures before the end of this year, ENDS can reveal.

The government has a legal duty to assess and report on the ecological status of its water bodies every three years under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). It last reported in 2016, with updated classifications due by late 2019, but yesterday DEFRA told ENDS it will not release the data until spring 2020. 

In 2016, the assessments revealed that only 14% of the country’s water bodies were in good condition, against a legally binding target of 100% achieving ‘good’ status by 2015. An analysis by ENDS of river basin management plans revealed that the extended deadline of 2021 was also likely be missed. 

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