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Rivers and Beaches (Cleanliness)

Volume 587: debated on Thursday 30 October 2014

We have made good progress in cleaning up our bathing waters and rivers. Our bathing waters are cleaner now than ever before, with 98% of them passing EU standards. Our rivers are in far better health. Pollution from sewage has gone down significantly. For example, phosphate pollution will fall by a fifth and ammonia by a sixth by 2015.

I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. I believe she is already familiar with the majesty of the River Severn running through my constituency and with the extraordinary work done by the Environment Agency in keeping that river clear. But does she agree that smaller and less impressive rivers such as the River Stour, which also runs through Kidderminster, are just as important and need just as much attention?

I agree with my hon. Friend, and I enjoyed walking down the Severn as a child when we briefly lived in Kidderminster—it is a lovely river. Those rivers are highly valued for their landscape, recreation, angling and drinking water supply, and we are involved in many projects to improve the fish stocks on the River Severn. Overall, this Government have cleaned up 10,000 miles of river during this Parliament, which is equivalent to the length of the Amazon and the Nile.