Ensure storm overflows, sewage treatment works and abstraction do not harm rivers
Based on Environment Agency measures (Reasons for Not Achieving Good Ecological Status), we will aim to ensure our operations will not be the reason for unhealthy rivers by 2030.
We will reduce storm spills to an average of 20 per year by 2025.
Create more opportunities for everyone to enjoy our rivers
Within 10 years, 90 per cent of the population in our regional will live within an hour's distance of a bathing quality rivers.
We have already identified over 20 potential inland bathing water locations across our region, and we will work with local river groups and communities to prioritise at least two for early implementation.
We will continue to promote the use of our existing inland bathing water at our Rutland Water reservoir and will look for opportunities to further increase recreational access to our reservoir sites.
Support others to improve and care for rivers
We will collectively launch a new deal for farmers to incentivise regenerative farming practices (through partnership working).
We will work with farmers and landowners, seeking to form a new strategic partnership with the agricultural sector, working together to tackle river health, including point source and diffuse pollution and abstraction issues across Eastern England.
We will campaign for the removal of the automatic right to connect for new developments, i.e., building new homes.
We will champion the Bill to ban wet wipes that contain plastic and ask for a ban on all wet wipes that are not ‘Fine to Flush’.
We will continue to invest in landscape-scale initiatives in places such as Norfolk, our flagship chalk stream the Lark in Suffolk, and across the Fens seeking to improve the river environment whilst enabling the agri-food sector to flourish.
We will engage with river groups and local Rivers Trusts in our region to identify and seek to cost the actions required to eliminate all RNAGs, working in partnership with farmers and landowners, highways authorities and others.
We will launch a fund for river groups and communities to support citizen science to enhance the monitoring of rivers in our region.
We will champion the development and promotion of a revised Catchment Declaration, seeking to draw the broadest possible range of partners to the table for action.
Enhance our rivers and create new habitats so wildlife can thrive
We will work with the EA and river groups and local Rivers Trusts to identify and prioritise the need for river flow improvements, reduce abstraction where necessary and develop new resources where needed, in order to ensure sufficient flows to enable rivers to function in as near a natural state as possible.
We will work in partnership with others to ensure the successful re-introduction of iconic fish species and beavers into the landscape of Eastern England.
Working with Water Resources East, we will use tools such as Systematic Conservation Planning to support ours and others’ decision-making around investment in natural capital interventions.
We will engage with local communities and river groups to understand issues which matter most to them in local catchments and will work with them to develop action plans and investment proposals.
We will play our part in reaching the water industry’s commitment to plant 11 million trees by 2030.
Be open and transparent about our performance and our plans
Work with NGOs to ensure we provide easily accessible water quality information via our website.
We will share our proposals for the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) with river groups and local Rivers Trusts in our region, and will look to develop partnerships and funding opportunities within and also beyond this programme.
In 2023 we convened an expert panel, including key academics and thought-leaders, to oversee our river health strategy, providing scrutiny and challenge of our work, and identifying research opportunities for further improvement.