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