Our Natural World


Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Healthy freshwater environments are critical for both people and wildlife. We need to protect and restore freshwater habitats from threats such as over abstraction and pollution.

One of the biggest challenges to the UK environment is the poor state of freshwater and the amplifying impact of climate change on it. Wildlife in freshwater has declined at a faster rate than in other habitats and is particularly susceptible to climate change. Despite the magnitude of the problem, it is easily overlooked by a public unaware of the implications of poor water stewardship.

Many rivers and lakes have water quality below the standard that is considered safe for beaches. There is already competition for available water and that is likely to increase, putting the natural environment at increasing risk whilst pollution from agriculture, industry and waste-water treatment continue to affect many rivers.

What we want to achieve

Impact goal

Clean and healthy freshwater

Long-term outcomes
  • Freshwater is valued and supports a flourishing economy and thriving natural environment
  • There is enough freshwater for wildlife and people
  • Freshwater-dependent wildlife and habitats have been restored
  • Floods do less harm to people and wildlife
  • Human activity does not cause damaging pollution

If you are interested in applying for funding on under this priority, please see our guidance for support.


You might be interested in

  • Peatland-Wareham Forest Dorset (C) Emma Goodyer.JPG

    Championing peat and restoring peatland at scale

    Jenny Dadd, Funding Manager and Our Natural World Lead shares what we’ve been doing – working alongside our amazing partners – to champion peat as a climate superpower and restore peatland at scale.

    Read more
  • Our Natural World-roadmap.png

    Our roadmap for improving our natural world – what more can we do?

    Find out about the roadmap we have been working to for improving Our Natural World and how we are getting on as well as our plans for the coming year.

    Read more
  • Wyre Natural Flood Management

    Financing nature's recovery – the £43 billion question

    In the second of our blogs on our roadmap for improving Our Natural World, Liam McAleese, Director of Our Natural World, shares what we’ve been doing to secure more money to finance nature’s recovery.

    Read more