This was among messages from Helen Wakeham, deputy director of water quality at the Environment Agency, during a keynote address at the Zero Pollutions Conference 2020, hosted by technology consultancy Isle.
Speaking to an audience of international water professionals, including utilities and suppliers, Wakeham said: “Something has really changed in the past year. Everyone is talking about water quality.
“Local interest groups are attracting not just local media interest but national media interest. Rivers and beaches are all our shop windows. People notice and people care.”
The conference, hosted by Isle to support the UK water sector as it strives to achieve ambitious pollution targets over the next five years, took place days before the Environment Agency published figures that found just 14% of English rivers are of good ecological standard.
Wakeham also spoke at Isle’s 2019 conference, when she said the agency expected the water industry to “sprint to zero pollutions”.