Rivers are essential to to the health of our natural environment yet many of London's rivers are polluted. Only one of London’s 41 river water bodies is classed as ‘good’ – three are ‘bad’, five are ‘poor’ and the rest are ‘moderate’ under the EU Water Framework Directive. This means that our rivers are much less healthy than they should be, and it means that key species like eels and barbels (a freshwater fish) struggle to survive in London’s rivers.
The Environment Agency (EA) oversees water quality issues, including monitoring and regulation. Water companies have a responsibility to prevent pollution incidents and mitigate the impacts when pollution occurs. London boroughs have responsibility for the enforcement of building regulations, correction of misconnections, proper maintenance of the road drainage network, and the reduction of run-off by promoting sustainable drainage through the planning process. In addition, a number of Catchment Management Partnerships have been established to actively involve communities in improving local water quality.