Environment Agency slashes water monitoring regime

The Environment Agency has come under fire after an investigation found that it has dramatically reduced its monitoring of water quality in England’s rivers.

The number of water samples and sampling points fell by almost half since 2013, according to data acquired by Greenpeace’s journalism unit, Unearthed. 

Unearthed said the data shows that in 2013, the agency took water quality samples at 10,797 sites but by 2018 this figure had dropped to just 5,796 sites, nearly 40% less than the year before. 

READ MORE: Why official data could show a decline in England's water quality

The number of samples taken has also dropped, according to the investigation, from 160,000 in 2013 to 87,000 in 2018. The agency said this is a result of “greater targeting in an increasingly risk-based manner”. 

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