Nature 2030 Minifesto: Freshwater

Link’s ‘minifestos’ are policy briefings which provide detail about how the five policy asks made by the Nature 2030 campaign could be applied to benefit different aspects of nature. This manifesto covers freshwater.

You can read the full Nature 2030 manifesto below


Freshwater systems are the backbone of the environment, intrinsically connected to the health of habitats and wildlife.

These blue spaces – rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands and floodplains – are suffering fragmentation, pollution and degradation. The multiple threats of agricultural pollution, sewage discharges, chemical cocktails and over abstraction mean that not a single English river is in good overall health. Even waterbodies of international rarity and importance to nature, such as our nationally treasured chalk streams, are in a critical state. Freshwater biodiversity is declining and many species face extinction.1 As habitats and wildlife suffer, so to do people, with water shortages and ill health from polluted water becoming more common across the UK.

The next Parliament is responsible for turning the tide. The UK Government is subject to a legal duty to stop the decline of species by the end of 2030.

Nature 2030 is a challenge to all political parties to take action, proposing five ambitious policies to get Government back on track to meet the targets and restore biodiversity.2 For freshwater, this means:

  • A Pay Rise for Nature: Embedding water-focused actions within payment schemes to incentivise farmers to farm in ways which reduce water pollution and recover freshwater habitats.
  • A Nature Recovery Obligation: Driving investment from water companies in water infrastructure, reducing pollution, addressing over-abstraction and increasing environmental resilience.
  • A 30 by 30 Rapid Delivery Project: Restoring more freshwater protected sites to full health.
  • A National Nature Service: Equipping people with the skills and funding needed to restorefreshwater habitats, tackle invasive species and take part in citizen science projects.
  • A Right to a Healthy Environment: Putting clean water firmly at the heart of decision-making, from planning to permits, driven by a new legal right to healthy, quality blue spaces.This is the UK’s opportunity to create a better state of nature. Our waters and their wildlife cannot wait.

You can read the full Freshwater Manifesto below