€20 million European funding boosts North West waters

Rivers, lakes and coastal beaches across the North West are set to benefit from €20 million of European Union funding to make the region’s waters cleaner than ever, Environment Minister Rory Stewart announced at a national water conference in Manchester today.

Having lived with the long legacy of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester’s rivers have seen a significant improvement over the past few decades with water quality the highest it’s ever been. As a result the city has been awarded new funding through the EU LIFE initiative to make the region’s rivers, lakes and coastal beaches cleaner than ever.

The fund which provides support to environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout Europe will protect and improve the water environment. Improvements in water quality have been driven by a number of directives including the Water Framework Directive, and the fund will enhance the delivery of this directive in the North West.

As well as making a speech at the EU LIFE+ Water Conference, Minister Rory Stewart also paid a visit to the Salford Quays project to learn more about work of The Healthy Waterways Trust – a partnership project to improve water quality along the Manchester Ship Canal.  Particular highlights include injecting oxygen into the water to ensure the survival of vital fish and other aquatic species along the canal

With the two-day Water Platform conference underway, Minister Rory Stewart outlined the benefits for our urban rivers as part of the EU:

“From rural rivers to city canals, our waterways are vital and Salford Quays is an innovative project where partnership working has led to an improvement in water quality for the region.

“Thanks to €20 million of EU LIFE funding even more miles of waterways in the North West will become the cleanest yet.

“Through the EU we have improved more than 9,000 miles of rivers since 2010 and our water environment is in the healthiest state for 25 years. We are able to protect and enhance the environment far more effectively if EU countries continue to work together.”

The national water event will focus on overcoming challenges to good water status in urban areas, and highlight water quality challenges such as flooding, chemical pollution and sustainable use of Europe’s waters.

The conference will also visit locations in Manchester and the North West where examples of these three issues can be seen with practical solutions at work.

With a conference on the Water Framework Directive just around the corner, the UK will be able to further share expertise across Europe, for example the Aquatic Pollution and Environmental Monitoring organisation has been involved in the management of Salford Quays water and is now one of the largest independent aquatic science consultancies in Europe.

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