Experts warn drop from 100,000 samples in 2012 to 41,519 last year means huge risk to water quality

Testing of rivers in England has fallen dramatically in the past 10 years, with experts warning it leaves a vacuum of knowledge about the effects of pollution.

Environment Agency data shows its river testing has fallen from nearly 100,000 samples a year in 2012 to 41,519 in 2021 – the lowest level of sampling in 20 years apart from the drop-off during Covid in 2020.

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