EA insiders slam agency’s ‘completely useless’ water monitoring regime

The poor health of England’s rivers is likely to be worse than thought because the Environment Agency’s water quality monitoring programme is “meaningless”, a “ludicrous waste of money” and a “gross misuse of data”, say existing and former agency officers.

The latest review of UK river health in 2016 - required under the Water Framework Directive -  revealed that just 14% of rivers were in good health, but the true picture is unknown and likely to be bleaker because the agency undertakes spot sampling just four times a year in some cases, and at most 12 times a year, ENDS has been told. 

Sampling rivers once a month or less will miss intermittent pollution events such as raw sewage spills from storm overflows and runoff from farms in bad weather, say agency staff and environmental NGOs. 

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