What is Clear Access, Clear Waters?

England and Wales have some of the most restricted access to water in the world.

Only 3.4% of our rivers have an uncontested public right of navigation.

Our communities are rarely far from rivers, canals or lakes.
Access and Environment charter front cover
Yet the vast majority of us are unable to access them.

Our blue spaces of rivers, estuaries, canals, reservoirs and lakes touch our lives in many ways. 

They provide water for us to drink, they help grow our food and also provide a means of transport.

Blue spaces can be our natural protection from flooding.

They can be places where we educate our children and provide recreational opportunities.

They are vital for our wellbeing.

The Clear Access, Clear Waters campaign relaunched our Access & Environment Charter at Westminster >>

Our priorities for action are:

1. Expand our freedom to enjoy more of our inland waters

2. Go further, faster to recover our blue spaces from pollution

3. Educate, inspire and inform responsible, sustainable behaviour

Following the Covid pandemic, interest in being in, on or alongside blue spaces, has grown.

More than 7.5m people now take part in paddlesports every year in the UK.

The popularity of stand up paddleboarding continues to grow.

Over three million adults participated at least one or two times in the discipline, in 2022. 

Our waterways are also vital for swimmers, rowers, sailors and anglers.

Under-investment and political ambivalence has left our blue spaces in trouble.

They are drowning in chemical and sewage pollution. 

They are being degraded by urbanisation, intensive agriculture and invasive non-native species.

Read the Access and Environment Charter >>

Launch of Access and Environment charter at Westminster
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