Rivers are a vital part of Yorkshire, for people, for communities and for the environment. They’re a place to relax, exercise and learn. They are a focal point of our towns and villages and bring economic and social amenity benefits. They’re also home to wildlife from otters to water voles to salmon.
We recognise our share of the responsibility to care for our rivers and protect all they have to offer. That’s why we are committed to working with others to enhance and safeguard Yorkshire’s rivers. We are also going to work with our customers, to really understand the role rivers play in our communities across Yorkshire.
We want to know how people enjoy rivers now and what they expect from them in the future. We want to hear from Yorkshire’s civic leaders about how important rivers are to economic and social development for both urban and rural communities.
We know we can’t improve river health just on our own. We’ve created some amazing partnerships across our region that will help us to deliver even more benefits, including with environmental charities, local authorities and the Environment Agency.
We have recently embarked on a new partnership with The Rivers Trusts and the local rivers trusts; through this partnership we will seek advice and expertise from the Trusts and work collaboratively to deliver solutions with a range of benefits.
Later this year, the Government will confirm new targets for water companies to meet as part of the Storm Overflows Reduction Plan. These targets will drive the biggest investment in the sewer network since the 1990s and will significantly reduce the number of storm overflows into the region’s rivers.
However, we aren’t waiting until these new targets come into force. We already have lots of activity planned between now and 2025, and we’re looking at how we can do even more, including bringing forward investment to meet the new targets.
This document sets out some of our plans for the next few years, but our plans will evolve as we work with customers and stakeholders to see how we can do more to meet our ambitions for Yorkshire’s rivers.