Swimmers and anglers should unite now to campaign for clean rivers | Letter

Margaret Dickinson on the polluted Wharfe, London’s oversubscribed swimming ponds and the urgent need to demand action as we leave the EU

Your timely article (Spa town wants bathing water status to force river clean-up, 20 January) indicates the need for a concerted campaign to clean up the UK’s rivers. Swimmers and fishermen are most directly affected and have a common interest that should override occasional conflicts. But clean, well-managed rivers play a part in improving the health and wellbeing of everyone.

Now is a moment of urgency, when organisations concerned with the environment and recreation should join forces with fishermen and swimmers to demand action. As we leave the EU we will lose even the inadequate protection of EU regulation. Unless new and stronger measures are introduced soon, the situation could get much worse. And ironically the threat is looming during a great revival in open-water activity.

The news about the River Wharfe coincides with an announcement by the City of London about rising demand for the swimming ponds it manages. Surely the answer to that demand is to improve conditions in the Thames and its tributaries, just as the solution to the polluted Wharfe is not to restrict swimming but to stop pollution and clean up other rivers.
Margaret Dickinson

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