Defra publish ‘Tackling water pollution from the urban environment’ consultation document

Defra are seeking views on developing their strategy for the management of urban diffuse water pollution in England. This form of diffuse pollution in rivers and waterways is typical characteristic of urban areas where road runoff, poorly plumbed drainage systems, old deposits of polluted sediment and runoff from industrial areas damage ecosystems in rivers, streams and ponds.

The impacts may be individually small but when added together can be damaging. Normal measures to permit and control polluters often cannot be used, as it can be difficult to identify those responsible and difficult to be fair in deciding who should pay to resolve issues.

Currently, 27% of water bodies in England meet the standards necessary to support viable ecosystems. Many water body failures are due to urban and other non-agriculture diffuse pollution where Defra believe positive action is necessary to improve knowledge, encourage cooperation, perhaps refine regulations and plan investment. Defra believe that cleaning-up our polluted urban rivers will deliver significant benefits by making our towns and cities more attractive, healthy places for people and wildlife and will contribute towards the Government’s growth and localism agenda.

This consultation allows you to inform and influence development of the strategy that will be developed in 2013. It explains some background to the problem and our initial understanding of the types and importance of urban diffuse water pollution sources. Defra explain how a number of initiatives and policies are being deployed to tackle the problem.

SWM are pleased to feature in the Defra consultation document on page 19, as our project with the Environment Agency to help understand where the local authorities could contribute to improving water quality is described.

For more information and details on how to respond, visit the Defra website.



Consultation document (pdf)