The History and Future of British Rivers and Waterways


The History and Future of British Rivers and Waterways

Organised by: Terry Langford, Pete Shaw and Mike Dobson


One of the most remarkable and positive environmental developments in the last 50 years has been the ecological improvement in British rivers and streams. After a long history of pollution and physical damage, the foul, foetid and fishless rivers, which were still common in the early 1960s, are now clear, clean and teeming with fish, invertebrates and other wildlife. Reasons for the improvements include law, technology, research, industrial evolution and public pressure. Even so, there are still reaches of polluted streams, rivers and canals, particularly in urban areas, with poor water quality and poor fish and invertebrate faunas. Diffuse pollution from agriculture and urban run-off, abstraction, navigation and scarcity of funds still pose problems such that in recent years, some improved watercourses have begun to show slight declines. Challenges remain.

This one day meeting aims to use glimpses of history to examine how British rivers and waterways could be and should in the future. Recognised experts with experience of river management, research, conservation, uses and public pressure groups have been invited to present their visions of the future of our rivers. Each presentation will be followed by floor-led discussions. The aim is to produce an overall vision of the future of many of our key natural resources, biological diversity and ecosystem services and how organisations of many types can work together to achieve and sustain better rivers for both wildlife and human communities.

The meeting is open to anyone with an interest in the environment.

The meeting will close with an early evening presentation (6.00pm-7.00pm).

Lunch will be provided.

Speakers include Prof.Alan Hildrew (QMUL), Prof. Angela Gurnell (QMUL), Dr.Isobelle Durrance (DURESS biodiversity Project), Dr. Fiona Bowles (Wessex Water) and Paul Knight (Riverfly Partnership)

Throughout the beginning of 2013 the Linnean Society will be installing a new lift. As a result, our meetings will be held next door at the Royal Astronomical Society (also in Burlington House).

Fba Logo
Linsoc Logo
U0 S Logo

This meeting is now fully booked. If you would like to be added to the waiting list please call the office on 0207434 4479 or email us

Related Links