Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

Court victory shows protecting our precious rivers and wetlands is no longer a ‘last resort’

High Court

Today, WWF-UK, the Angling Trust & Fish Legal Judicial Review secured a major step forward for the protection of our most important rivers and wetlands. The Judge recognised the need for urgent action to protect these precious places and the wildlife that lives there.

As a result of their legal victory today, the Government must evaluate the use of mandatory Water Protection Zones alongside voluntary steps by farmers, which have so far failed to protect these vulnerable places from farm pollution.

The environmental organisations claimed that ministerial involvement had stifled necessary action to reduce pollution from farms harming England’s ‘natural’ crown jewels.

Sir Andrew Collins, said: “It is obviously of the greatest importance that proper measures are taken as soon as possible to meet the obligations of the Directive. We all know our wildlife is suffering as a result of pollution and not only just wildlife, people as well.”

David Nussbaum, Chief Executive, WWF-UK, said: “This takes the ministerial handcuffs off of the Environment Agency which can now better protect our most precious rivers and wetlands.

“The Government must now act with haste and put necessary measures in place to tackle pollution from farms that is devastating these specially protected sites.”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive, the Angling Trust & Fish Legal: “This is a win for cherished species like the kingfisher, salmon and trout which are seriously threatened by this pollution.

“This is a clear message to Government that they must stop dragging their feet and they must now take the necessary steps to improve the health of these precious rivers and wetlands.”

David Wolfe QC, said: “Defra and the EA’s new statement should mean that they will now actively consider WPZs as the way of delivering benefits for the environment rather than waiting until other approaches had demonstrably failed before even turning to them.”

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