Data released on 6 October by the Environment Agency shows that the quality of water in rivers in England and Wales continues to improve. The Environment Agency’s annual General Quality Assessment (GQA) show that 76 per cent of English rivers, and 95 per cent of those in Wales, achieved ‘very good’ or ‘good’ status in terms of chemical water quality in 2007, up from 55 and 86 per cent respectively in 1990. The biological quality of rivers also continued to improve, with 72 per cent of rivers in England and 87 per cent of those in Wales, achieving ‘very good’ or ‘good’ status last year, up from 55 and 79 per cent respectively in 1990.

The Environment Agency also announced, on 4 October, new research suggesting river flows could drop drastically by 2050 as climate change puts increasing stress on the water environment and wildlife across England and Wales. It has produced a series of maps showing future monthly changes in river flow across England and Wales.