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NERC Freshwater Quality Programme


The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have appointed Professor Joseph Holden and Professor Pippa Chapman as Freshwater Quality Champions and leaders of this new programme that will study water quality of UK rivers. The four year NERC programme, titled ‘Understanding changes in quality of UK freshwaters’, aims to:

  • investigate how pollutants enter, leave and interact with rivers and supporting ecosystems
  • determine how the movement of pollutants will be modified with changes in the water cycle
  • create better tools to monitor and measure pollution.

The programme will oversee five different research projects, each focusing on a different aspect of water quality. Each project will be interdisciplinary and bring together a range of experts needed to deliver the integrated and cross sectional research required.

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Our five research projects, each focusing on different aspects of water quality


See our past events and presentations


Top of the Poops - Big Issue article

Prof Pippa Chapman, Champion for the NERC Freshwater Quality Programme has contributed to a feature on water quality in the Big Issue 17 April , 2023. Excerpt below. Read full article here.  Top of the Poops - Privatisation of water in the UK has resulted in soaring bills and sewage-filled rivers. How did we get...

How the UK's rivers are being overlooked and why we need to fix them

The New Scientist interviewed Professor Joseph Holden on the work of the NERC Freshwater Quality Programme. The article published on 2 April 2023 is added below, with PDF version here: New Scientist The UK's rivers are in a shocking state, which could get worse with climate change and ongoing pollution. Researcher Joseph Holden at the...

New research will improve the quality of UK rivers

Five new research projects have launched to investigate how pollution impacts UK rivers. The projects form a UK wide Freshwater Quality Programme which is being co-ordinated by Programme Champions, Professors Joseph Holden and Pippa Chapman.  Most UK rivers fail to meet good ecological status  Scientists will: create new tools for monitoring freshwater pollution; study how...

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