Campaigners issue rivers warning
Conservationists and anglers have responded to news of the 10 most improved rivers in England and Wales with a warning that many waterways are still under threat.
The Environment Agency last week released a list of the top 10 waterways that have shrugged off their industrial past to once again become havens for wildlife, walkers and anglers.
But wildlife charities RSPB and WWF, along with the Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association, have responded with a list of 10 rivers where they say not enough is being done to tackle environmental problems.
The list includes the Thames - which featured in the top 10 most improved rivers last week - because campaigners say that while water quality has improved, a study had revealed that attempts to create a self-sustaining salmon population in the river have failed.
The other rivers in the list of 10 struggling waterways are: the Hampshire Avon, the River Rea, the River Trent, the River Kennet, the River Beane, the River Mimram, the River Ivel, the River Wye and the River Ray.
Problems faced by the rivers include pollution, over-abstraction of water and invasive species, making it hard for wildlife ranging from fish to water voles to survive.
The groups, which are all part of the Our Rivers campaign, said two-thirds of rivers in England and Wales are failing tough EU targets for water quality which need to be met by 2015.
Our Rivers campaigner Jack Clarke said: "It is right to celebrate the improvements that our rivers have seen in recent decades - but we cannot ignore the continuing threats our native river wildlife faces.
"Most of the 10 rivers highlighted in the Environment Agency's report last week are doing well, but it is a different story for many hundreds of other rivers crossing England and Wales.
"The stories we hear from people living near these rivers are all too familiar - salmon and trout numbers at a fraction of their former levels, sewage being released directly into the waterway, riverbeds drying up in the summer due to unsustainable abstraction. The 10 rivers we have chosen illustrate these problems, but they are only examples of a much wider issue."