Skip to main content

Inland Waterways: Phosphates

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL1484, tabled on 28 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the amount of phosphates entering English watercourses is declining or increasing.

Answered on

12 July 2021

Environment Agency monitoring data show dramatic reductions in phosphorus concentrations in English rivers over the last 25 years. Average concentrations now are about one-fifth of those in the mid-1990s.

The Environment Agency has also assessed the loadings of phosphorus entering rivers from water company sewage treatment works nationally. From 1995 to 2020 the phosphorus loadings were reduced by 66 percent.

The amounts of phosphorus applied to land as fertiliser have also reduced significantly over the last 25 years and livestock numbers have fallen leading to less manure production.