River Action: ERF’s newest grantee partner tackling pollution in Britain’s most threatened rivers

River Wye at Symmonds Yat © Creative Commons / Nilfanion


All of Britain’s rivers are now polluted due to industrial, agricultural and sewage pollution, with 83% of them showing evidence of high pollution. For example, according to a 2023 report, sewage was discharged 301,091 times in England’s rivers in 2022. The report also stated that 38% of UK terrestrial and freshwater species have declined since 1970.

It is with this in mind that ERF is pleased to announce a new grantee partner, River Action. River Action is a campaigning group that aims to raise awareness of river pollution and apply pressure on industrial and agricultural producers, water companies, and other polluters. The goal is for these parties to take greater responsibility for remedying the adverse environmental impact their supply chains are having on the health of the UK’s rivers. Within industry, the prime focus is to target food production companies whose supply chains are complicit in the increasing volume of river pollution caused by the run-off of nutrient-rich agricultural waste.

River Action’s approach has three strategic goals to ensure maximum impact on river restoration and environmental conservation:

  1. Empower and fund community-level activism and citizen science. This is achieved in part by mobilising citizen scientists to gather consistent evidence of pollution to share with regulators with a unified voice.
  2. Mobilise public opinion to pressure government and industry to invest in better practices. River Action raises people’s awareness, galvanising action, and then uses that momentum to bring about consumer and voter behaviour change.
  3. Advocate Government policy and industry practice change to protect and restore our rivers and shift industry supply chains towards the health of rivers. This includes promoting the River Action ‘Charter for Rivers’ – a 10-point plan setting out the essential actions required to rescue Britain’s rivers, and taking legal action against the government and polluters to hold them to account.


ERF Founder and Chair Dan Hotz noted that; “High levels of pollution from agriculture and sewage are threatening the complex ecosystems within UK rivers. For the sake of biodiversity and health we must prioritise the restoration and protection of our rivers.”