Love Your River campaign launches

Wednesday 28th March 2012

Hants and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust staff with Richard Benyon     Left to right: Rachel Remnant, Richard Benyon, Debbie Tann, Martin de Retuerto

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust today hosts the launch of a new Government campaign to raise public awareness about the link between the health of our rivers and water use.

The ‘Love Your River’ campaign is being launched and backed by Defra, the National Trust, the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trusts, Keep Britain Tidy, water companies and Waterwise, to promote the value and benefits of our rivers to our everyday life. The need to protect our rivers has become more urgent in light of droughts being declared in various parts of the country, with some of southern Yorkshire joining the list of drought affected areas today.


The campaign will concentrate on the issues that affect rivers and encourage people to think about:

  • how the water we use in our homes or businesses affects the water in our local river;
  • how the pollutants we dump down our drains harms our local water;
  • the fact that there is likely to be less water available for people and businesses in the future and the knock-on effect this will have on the natural world around the river; and
  • how we could get by with less in the event of drought measures in our areas.
  • On average we use nearly 150 litres of water per person per day and it is easy to forget that our actions have a direct consequence on the health and wellbeing of our local rivers. That is why people are being asked to look at their own lifestyle to see if there are any changes they could make to help our rivers flourish.

The ‘Love Your River’ campaign is not just about educating people about the difficulties that many rivers face. It is also about celebrating the importance of rivers to local people – for their health, well-being, leisure and sport. It’s about recognising the great work that local groups already do to look after their rivers. It’s about honouring the community spirit and the inspirational individuals who give up their time and energy to improve their local environment.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“The amazing wildlife of our rivers and wetlands is under immense pressure from drought and other factors. Many of us would like to help but don’t know what action to take. There are simple steps around water use that can make a real difference including turning off taps when cleaning our teeth. As well as saving water, you might also want to find out more and get involved with what your local Wildlife Trust is doing for rivers and wetlands near you.”

‘Love Your River’ launches at the River Itchen, celebrating the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s ‘Winnall Moors – Exemplar for the River Itchen’ restoration project. This £1.3m, five year project, is currently developing the local nature reserve as an example of good practice in areas such as grazing, fishing and also by educating local residents on the needs of wildlife. Speaking at the launch of the ‘Love Your River’ campaign, Rivers Minister Richard Benyon said:

“We all love our rivers. They are the lifeblood of our country. They’ve shaped our landscape, and our towns and cities have been designed around them. They are vitally important for our everyday lives and our environment, and we’ve all got a role to play in making sure our rivers are as healthy as they can be.

“I hope the ‘Love Your River’ campaign will inspire people to value their local rivers and take action to look after them. It’s especially important that we care for our rivers when they’re facing the added pressure of drought, as well as the constant threats they face from over–use and pollution. The fact that so many organisations have come together to back this campaign shows the depth of feeling about this issue, and the importance we all place on making sure our actions don’t damage our rivers.”

The new website for the ‘Love Your River’ campaign can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/loveyourriver.