UK: Minister Announces Funding for England’s Rivers Cleanup

A £28 million Fund to clean up England’s rivers and encourage local wildlife to flourish has been announced today by Environment Minister Richard Benyon.

Part of a £92 million Defra commitment to clearing up England’s rivers and lakes, the Fund announced today will allow communities and charities to tackle local eyesores and encourage iconic wildlife to thrive by tackling pollution and removing redundant dams, weirs and other man-made structures to create habitats which work for wildlife.

Mr Benyon said:

Rivers and lakes are a vital, and much-loved, part of the English countryside and I want to ensure they remain that way.

“We’ve all seen examples of rivers choked up with rubbish and weeds and the devastating effects on wildlife and the scenic beauty of these precious places. But we’ve also seen some fantastic successes in reversing these declines, such as the return of otters to all counties in England.

“With only a quarter of our lakes and rivers currently providing a home to a wide range of birds, fish and mammals, there is still much more we can all do. Today’s £28 million Fund will help communities and charities interested in doing just that and I hope it will lead to us soon celebrating the same sort of success for other treasured wildlife, such as water voles, kingfishers and salmon.”

Community groups and charities can apply for a share of the Catchment Restoration Fund to clean up their local rivers by tackling pollution, restoring wildlife habitats and enabling fish to migrate.

The Environment Agency will be responsible for running the fund over the next three years and will ensure that money is given to local groups who can make a real difference.

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency said:

“This is a great opportunity to create a better water environment. Cleaner water, flowing in a more natural landscape will be good for business, people and wildlife, and help society adapt to the effects of climate change.

“We encourage businesses, local authorities and community groups to join together with charitable organisations to apply for funding and come up with big ideas for their local waterway.”

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Dredging Today Staff, February 3, 2012;

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