Legal Action to Save the River Wye!

by River Action UK in United Kingdom

We did it
On 14th February 2024 we successfully raised £46,939 ( + est. £8968.00 Gift Aid ) with 1615 supporters in 14 days

Landmark legal action to end the injustice the Wye has suffered because the Environment Agency failed to enforce regulations to protect it!

Project by River Action UK

 New stretch target

We hope this legal challenge will set a precedent for future cases to hold polluters to account. We have other ongoing legal action and formal complaints, with more in the planning. Our projected costs are £100,000 this year, so anything we collect through this crowdfunder over our target will be used for this cause. All funding will be used to either support our legal action along the River Wye, or pursue our other similar planned legal actions into 2024.

We intend to prove that Government bodies have acted unlawfully in their failure to take the necessary measures to protect one of the UK’s most environmentally protected rivers from the severe ecological damage caused by intensive agricultural pollution.  

Specifically we believe the Environment Agency has repeatedly failed to enforce existing regulations to protect the River Wye, and were granted permission to take them to court through a Judicial Review process. Watch this short video to see the amazing support we received when we went to court on 7th & 8th February. The judge has heard all the evidence - and we now have an agonising wait for the verdict. 

This is the first of a number of legal challenges we intend to make against the Government, its statutory agencies and polluting industries. Our long suffering rivers have precious little time left before they suffer irreversible damage and we urgently need your help to cover the costs of the legal actions we are taking to protect them.


River Action is a  UK-registered charity campaigning  on a mission to Rescue Britain’s Rivers. We are entirely independent, never accepting funding from the government, corporates or industry bodies. This enables us to speak truth to power in an uncompromised and fearless manner. We work with local communities to rescue their rivers, supporting their amazing endeavours to amplify and raise awareness nationally, and pressure decision makers in Government and industry to do the right things to protect these amazing but increasingly endangered natural amenities. 

The crisis: In recent years intensive poultry production has undergone an exponential and uncontrolled expansion across the River Wye catchment. There are now over 24 million chickens being intensively farmed at any one time, producing huge volumes of highly toxic manure. Much of this has simply been dumped across the fields of the river valley, from where this toxic waste has been allowed to leach into the River Wye catchment. The resultant pollution, manifested in regular severe algal blooms that turn the river into a toxic green soup, has all but completely suffocated the natural ecology of the river’s ecosystem. 


River Action’s first catchment specific campaign was focused on saving the River Wye and understanding the pollution sources and consequences facing it.

“We’re fed up of begging the Environment Agency to enforce the law against farming pollution. We’re so grateful to River Action for bringing this legal challenge, which we consider crucial in the fight to protect and restore the River Wye.” Tom Tibbits, Chair of Friends of the Upper Wye.

The opportunity: This critically important legal action presents a unique and urgent opportunity to force the Environment Agency to do its job and finally start to enforce the laws that exist to protect our rivers. In doing so it has the ability to save the River Wye, and ensure that its polluters are held to account. 


We don’t have much time - the judge heard all the evidence at court on the 7th & 8th February and we're waiting for the result - the predicted total costs of the case will exceed £60,000. We have raised some funds already, including donations from Wild Justice and the EFN Rapid Response Fund. But we still need more cash to fund this and our proposed other legal challenges to protect our precious rivers. Your donation will help to cover legal fees, research, and campaign costs to ensure the biggest impact is made.

We urgently need your help. Please donate and share! 


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