Healthy rivers in Scotland 66% England ZERO!

The Herald

On Day 4 of the Herald/Labour/Ferret hatchet job on the SNP Government’s record in protecting the environment, as we approach COP26:

Scotland’s rivers, lochs, canals and burns are in the worst state on record, with more than 400 damaged by pollution and other problems, according to the latest official analysis.

But, in paragraph two we read:

So, this record pollution is not an actual physical increase but a change in reporting. Until the latest change, SEPA show this:

River Water Quality Indicator 1992-2018

Note a decline in reported pollution levels from 1999 to 2012, then new standards increasing the level of pollution reported, before falling slightly again to 2018.

Here’s how SEPSA explain this:

In light of increasing data and understanding about environmental pressures and ecological impact, two of the Water Framework Directive standards used in the indicator calculation were changed in 2013.  These were invertebrates and phosphorus.  In 2013, the indicator was calculated with both the old and the new standards in order that a comparison could be made. The proportion of river length assessed as slightly polluted, polluted or severely polluted in 2013 was 3.4% using the old standards and 3.7% using the new standards.

Note the Herald/Ferret are using the two-year-old 2019 data but don’t seem to have the actual percentage for that year to compare with the recent ‘worst’ in 1999 (?). Perhaps a reader can find it?

This seems to be a classic change due to reporting rather than a change in the physical quality of our water.

I note that SEPA, currently states:

The water environment in Scotland is generally in good condition.

And, for context, in the Times on September 18 2020:

Every river and lake in England fails pollution test. All rivers and lakes monitored in England have failed tests for chemical pollution and 84 per cent do not meet the government’s target of good ecological status, official figures reveal.

There has been no progress in the past four years towards meeting the government’s long-term target that at least three quarters of water bodies, including rivers, lakes, canals, coastal waters and groundwater, will be restored to be as close as possible to their natural state.

In Scotland 66 per cent of water bodies are healthy, with 46 per cent of rivers healthy in Wales and 31 per cent in Northern Ireland.,ecological%20status%2C%20official%20figures%20reveal.&text=In%20Scotland%2066%20per%20cent,per%20cent%20in%20Northern%20Ireland.
The Herald

24 thoughts on “Healthy rivers in Scotland 66% England ZERO!



    Liked by 7 people

  2. These lies annoy me a great deal. Thank you John for bringing this one to my attention. I have been a walker all my life and hardly ever see pollution in country rivers and streams. It is there but in minute amounts. City rivers like the Almond in Edinburgh are also not in a poor condition.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. In England raw sewage is being released into waterways and rivers at an increasing rate. But that’s OK.
    In Scotland we have “rivers of pish” flowing from our colonial press outlets.
    And Hi Jack and Dancing Loon (or is he a quine?) Govey are up to their scrawny necks in merde.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Come now, let’s not get lost in the hype, there is NO raw sewage discharged to waterways and rivers anywhere across the UK, period.
      There are CSOs which discharge dilute and frequently screened sewage during storm events (big ones) s to already surcharged rivers, but that’s a failsafe to protect sewers and prevent constipated old Jack on the privy getting more than he bargained for when he hears a gurgle.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I recall BBC Scotland using a 5 year old news story in part of an article about this same subject. It was about a spill in The Clyde. However, the BBC Scotland article ignored Scotland’s biggest sewer – the £100m Shieldhall Tunnel which runs under the South Side of Glasgow. It took two years to complete and became operational in 2018. That investment will be contributing to the health of the river.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. Labour branch office in Scotland in ten years at the helm sold off the non domestic arm of Scottish water, they planned to do the same with the domestic part as well!
    Thank goodness that was abandoned by the SNP, otherwise Scotland’s drinking water would be more expensive and polluted.
    Because of Brexit England’s rivers are being polluted even more because of lack of access to chemicals for sewerage plants etc. It’s just disgraceful.
    It definitely looks like the media have started their Scotland is the most polluted, dirty,
    polluting region of great England, all that oil, gas, and cows farting, worst polluted region of England on the whole planet campaign.
    If only Scotland could be like great England, clean, fresh as a daisy air to breathe, everyone happy, rivers you can drink from, renewables galore, then COP26 wouldn’t be necessary.

    Don’t know why teletubbies comes to mind…

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Had remarked on the earlier Ferret sourced bunkum – “Air and water pollution across Scotland is markedly low, media pollution is not currently measured but I’m pretty sure were it a SEPA remit there would be prohibition notice on many editors’ desks in the morning…”

    Scotland’s watercourses were in rude health generally 20 years ago, so for the Ferret to observe “Scotland’s rivers, lochs, canals and burns are in the worst state on record, with more than 400 damaged by pollution and other problems” implies something apocalyptic must have occurred, hence went to read the article (clickbaited).

    Then I spotted this comment to the article and realised how slow I’d been on the uptake –
    “Just back from speyside, didn’t see any evidence of this, also been plenty other places in Scotland this summer and didn’t see anything either. Really Ramping up the climate propaganda paranoia just in time for cop 26.”

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Such a distsorted article is no surprise in these declining days of the (Glasgow) Herald as it reaches its unnoticed sunset.

    What is worrying is the byline: “By Jamie Mann, The Ferret”

    The Ferret is a bit controversial which is good, but that self-contradicting article actually being by the Ferret, rather than a Herald columnist, must be the worst effort by The Ferrret by a long chalk. They have destroyed their credibility.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. John,
      Here is something to add to the archive. Tory MPs, including our Scottish cohort, just voted against a proposal to stop/cut back on sewage being pumped into rivers in England and Wales.

      Perhaps that should be mentioned everytime anyone tries to use the Herald/Ferret investigation against the SG. For example, someone like D Ross at FMQs.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Trying to trace how the Ferret could possible have arrived at “Scotland’s rivers, lochs, canals and burns are in the worst state on record” even between 2018 and 2019 which seems to be “New assessment methods” rather than real terms, and it’s impossible. To the contrary there’s this (December 2020):

    Click to access draft-rbmp-three.pdf

    This RBMP builds on previous RBMPs published in 2009 and 2015, setting revised objectives for the period from 2021 to the end of 2027


    Water quality is now in good or better condition in 87% of Scotland’s water environment. This is up from 82% when we published the second RBMPs. [20`15]

    So, in 5 years, it’s improved from 82% to 87%, so NOT “the worst state on record”. Also look at Table 1.

    If I had the time I’d get off my ar5e and do a proper ferret rather than the cr4p that was. But I did too much of that night owl oil in Indy Ref 1.

    Anyways, thanks for your effort with this article, but for it and a link from WGD to it making me re-read the Herald article and realising it was the ferret itself, I would have remained a defender of the rat on the string. What on earth were they playing at?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, that was a stupid embedding / non-embedding pds rather than a link. Here it is with spaces between bits:

      https: // www. sepa. org. uk/media/591408/draft-rbmp-three . pdf


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