None of England’s Rivers Meet Water Framework Directive Standards

Official assessments of 4,600 surface water and groundwater bodies across England, undertaken by the Environment Agency in 2019, have found that none met legal water quality standards for overall health. 

A total of 3,740 were classified as ‘moderate’ overall, which accounts for both ecological and chemical health, while 137 were rated ‘bad’ under requirements of the Water Framework Directive.

The data also shows that ecological health of England’s rivers has plateaued at 14% meeting ‘good’ status since 2016. Meanwhile, the chemical health of water bodies continues to decline.

England will miss the extended target to achieve ‘good’ water body health by 2021 under the WFD and has applied for a further extension to 2027.