There are national stories and events which impact on the River Sid.

Here are the big stories as reported since January 2021

28 December 2023: Every single UK river is chemically polluted; whereas France has 573 bathing water sites, our paltry three are all rated poor and unfit to swim. Unsurprising when our government has cut regulatory funding by 70%. Meanwhile, to host open water swimming during the Olympics next summer, France has invested €1.4bn to clean the River Seine. In 2024 we must rescue Britain’s rivers from a torrent of sewage – The Big Issue

24 December 2023As of 1 January 2024, British farmers will no longer have to follow EU regulations on reducing agricultural runoff into rivers, or a series of other measures designed to promote good environmental practicesFears for river pollution as UK ditches EU farming rules after Brexit | The Independent

5 October 2023: A toxic cocktail of damaging chemicals created by road pollution is flowing into England’s rivers and no regulator is monitoring the scale of its impact on wildlife or public health. More than 18,000 outfalls, such as pipes, and about 7,700 soakaways managed by National Highways discharge rainwater potentially contaminated with heavy metals, hydrocarbons, microplastics and other chemicals from the main road network into rivers and on to land. Hundreds of potentially toxic road runoff outfalls polluting England’s rivers | Rivers | The Guardian

30 September 2023: Ingenious floating DIY gadgets, developed and operated by talented amateur activists at a fraction of the cost of professional kit, can feed back via an app real-time information about the state of a waterway, and will now be trialled by the Environment Agency. Sewage pollution: Citizen eco-warriors armed with budget shed tech patrol whiffy river frontline | UK News | Sky News

16 September 2023This is one of the two sewage plants in Copenhagen. It has the capacity to clean sewage water from 750.000 people. It’s so effective that people can bathe safely in the harbour. The waste is used to make biogas, supplying 60% of the gas needed in Copenhagen. Prof Alice Roberts💙 on X: “Notes from a civilised country…” / X

17 September 2023: Surfers Against Sewage on X: “Our Safer Seas & River Service app paints an all too familiar picture of pollution risk alerts across the south and south west today.” / X

1 September 2023: The UK government has announced plans to enable the delivery of 100,000 new homes by 2030 that are currently being held up by a controversial EU law designed to protect water bodies from pollution. Why the UK government is relaxing rules for river pollution | The Conversation and Water pollution rules expected to be weakened by the Government today | The Wildlife Trusts

10 August 2023: “But we don’t know the volume of sewage coming out through pipes, so we simply don’t know to what extent our waters are polluted. The safest thing to say is no river hits the standard level for bathing water. But there are places that are sufficiently clean.” When water pollution is rife in the UK, where’s safe for wild swimming? | National Geographic

12 August 2023: More than 90% of freshwater habitats on England’s most precious rivers are in unfavourable condition, blighted by farming pollution, raw sewage and water abstraction, an Observer investigation reveals. None of the approximately 40 rivers with protected habitats in England are in overall good health, according to an analysis of government inspection reports‘ An utter disgrace’: 90% of England’s most precious river habitats blighted by raw sewage and farming pollution | Rivers | The Guardian

13 July 2023: South West Water (SWW) has been rated as among the worst water companies in England for water pollution. The company was given two stars, out of a possible four, in the annual Environmental Performance Assessment report for 2022. It is an improvement on the previous rating of one star but the Environment Agency (EA) said the level of pollution remained “unacceptable”. South West Water among worst in England for pollution – report – BBC News

18 June 2023: Levels of pollutants in the UK’s rivers are tested by random sampling, a method that experts say is decades out of date and not thorough enough to tackle the issues facing the waterways UK river pollution monitoring is 50 years out of date, say researchers | New Scientist

1 May 2023: Ashley Smith, the founder of the campaign group Windrush against Sewage Pollution (Wasp), who has spent the past six years investigating sewage pollution in the river, said: “The public were kept in the dark by government and the captured regulators but as campaigners dragged the dirty secrets out into the open, public awareness and disgust rapidly followed. River pollution becomes key issue in English local elections | Water | The Guardian

12 February 2023: The Times has felt compelled to launch its Clean It Up campaign to address the country’s polluted waterways How Britain’s waterways became a dirty joke – and why we should act now | The Times

6 December 2022: “The Environment Agency has identified the source of the pollution affecting the Rivers Piall and Yealm in South Devon. We are supporting the work to stop the discharge and prevent further material from being washed down the river.” Rivers Yealm and Piall turn white as water becomes polluted – Devon Live

29 November 2022: “The legal case seeks to compel the Government to rewrite its Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan 2022 and impose tighter deadlines on water companies.” Suing the government over sewage pollution at sea – Vision Group for Sidmouth

25 November 2022: The Government’s Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan (The Plan) is supposed to show how the government will deal with sewage pollution from storm overflows, but… WildFish has started a court action seeking to force the withdrawal and redrafting of the Government’s Sewage Overflows Plan | Wildfish

17 October 2022: Last year in Britain raw sewage was pumped into rivers and coasts 375,000 times. Not a SINGLE river in England has a clean bill of health. Aaron Bastani explains how private water companies are killing the country’s waterways – and why water bosses should face jail time. How Private Water Companies Are Killing Britain’s Rivers | Aaron Bastani – YouTube

26 August 2022: “by 2025, water companies will have reduced overflows discharges from 2020 levels by around 25%.”  “By 2035, water companies will have: improved all overflows discharging into or near every designated bathing water; and improved 75% of overflows discharging to high priority sites.” “By 2050, no storm overflows will be permitted to operate outside of unusually heavy rainfall or to cause any adverse ecological harm.” Storm_Overflows_Discharge_Reduction_Plan.pdf

15 June 2022: “Whether it’s to save on a water bill or help the environment, reusing water is a great idea. In fact, reusing “greywater” can reduce water waste by up to 40%.” Greywater: reducing the amount of water we waste – Vision Group for Sidmouth

9 May 2022: The Wildlife Trusts discuss the state of our rivers in the UK and ask why, despite legal protections being put in place, some of them are in a dire state. Are our river protections failing? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

22 January 2022: “The emphasis is ultimately on creating an ecosystem that will sustain itself over time, without the need for constant intervention.” Wetland restoration – the Continent, the UK and the Sid Valley – Vision Group for Sidmouth

17 January 2022: “The report clearly identifies the need for proactive education, citizen engagement, stronger regulations, greater enforcement and better government funding for investigations.” Water quality report: ‘routine pollution in our rivers’ – Vision Group for Sidmouth

29 September 2021: “One way of dealing with this might be environmentally friendly methods of treating human waste, such as constructed treatment wetlands (CTWs), or artificially created wetlands specifically designed for the treatment of wastewaters.” Drugs in our rivers – Vision Group for Sidmouth

15 September 2021: Reports by 1) Salmon and Trout Conservation, 2) a coalition of charities, including the RSPB, the National Trust and the Rivers Trust, and 3) the New Statesman – all show high levels of pollution are ending up in our rivers: Looking after our rivers | Vision Group for Sidmouth

9 September 2021: Only14% of the UK’s rivers are deemed to be in a good ecological state – so would giving them more ‘rights’ help protect them? Creating a stink on Britain’s dirty rivers | Vision Group for Sidmouth

23 July 2021: Surfers Against Sewage have witnessed the latest pollution off the Devon coast: “Raw sewage is being pumped into our waters and it’s an ongoing problem.” | Vision Group for Sidmouth

19 July 2021: There are concerns that the latest scientific studies show that “Active coronavirus has been found in faeces, so sewage discharge into rivers where people swim, especially in these hot weather conditions, is potentially lethal.”: Coronavirus in untreated sewage “can remain infectious” | Vision Group for Sidmouth

13 July 2021: The Environment Agency has just published its annual report on the water companies – and it doesn’t make very impressive reading: EA report: in the South West, only one in every five rivers support a healthy ecology | Vision Group for Sidmouth