Now What?


Hopefully you all headed to the polls and cast your vote for rivers. So now what? Well you might have a new MP, and we certainly have a new government. It's time to get in touch with them. They are there to represent you, and the wild places we all love. Their contact details can be found below.... you know what to do.


Why You Should Be A Voter
Our rivers are in decline - freshwater ecosystems support around a tenth of the Earth’s species, and they are under threat. The Living Planet report  shows freshwater vertebrates have declined 84% in the last 50 years, and a third of freshwater species are under threat of extinction. Among the reasons for this massive loss of biodiversity are flow alteration and habitat degradation. Two things that are commonplace in hard modifications to rivers such as hydroelectric schemes and hard engineering. 
Every campaign Save Our Rivers has run has involved engaging with MPs, even when our views don’t align to ensure that they are fighting for free flowing rivers. We are privileged to have a democratic system that while far from perfect, is available to us. It’s a simple action, but voting for politicians who will stand up for wild places and free flowing rivers is vital.
For more detailed information on why voting is essential, you can visit the excellent  Voting Counts website. 
What about BREXIT?
Before BREXIT around 80% of the UKs laws affecting the environment came from the EU, and they were some of the toughest in the world.
Post BREXIT the UK Government transferred those laws across to the UK. But, since then there has been a weakening of environmental legislation in comparison to the EU, UK Environmental protection is facing death by a thousand cuts.
Weakened legislation includes; control of pesticides, import of high CO2 products - CBAM, deforestation, the Social Climate Fund, battery and electrical recycling, water quality, air pollution, agricultural emissions, and fast fashion waste.
It is more critical than ever that you vote with the environment first in your mind at the UK Election in July. Look out for our upcoming manifesto analysis to help you choose who to support.
How to have a conversation with a candidate
To edit the text and items of your accordion, just mouseover the accordion module and click on the yellow edit icon. Now you can add, edit, order and remove both items and content. The title for each accordion item can be edited inline. To edit content please click on the edit icon in the menu that pops out when you mouseover content.
Chances are during the election campaign you are going to come across candidates, knocking on your door or canvassing in your local area. This is the perfect opportunity to engage them in a positive conversation about how they and their party would tackle issues such as freshwater biodiversity loss and disconnection from wild places. Tackling biodiversity loss goes hand in hand with climate protection. 

For most candidates this is unlikely to be at the forefront of their campaign notes, so having the issue raised with them on the doorstep can be a powerful catalyst. It can be really helpful to have a local angle to ask them about. We’ve always called for you to “get local” and know the issues on your doorstep/riverbank. As paddlers and lovers of the outdoors, you are best placed to know these issues first hand. 

- Get local. Having a local issue to discuss makes it relevant to you and your community. 
- Get Real. If you have some specific facts or data, they can be really powerful in getting your point of view over. Practice Factivism! 
- Get Connected. Can you signpost the canvassing team to an organisation who are working on your specific issue?
- Offer a solution. What do you want them to achieve on your behalf? Can you offer a pathway that will lead to this? 
- Ask for Follow Up. Remind them that should they be elected you'll be in touch to discuss the issue further!

All the candidates are worth a conversation, even ones from parties you don’t agree with, or you don’t think will win. These people have put themselves forward to represent their community, this is an opportunity to look them in the eye and ask them to do just that. If it’s not a priority for them, are they the right people to earn your vote?

Some more excellent information can be found from the WWF, and Climate Outreach.
Has my costituency changed?
Since the last election, the parliamentary seats have been updated. This happens periodically to ensure that the constituencies have roughly the same population. These changes my have had a marked effect on the constituency you live in, and over 90% of them have changed in some way. For some it’s just a small change, but in a few places the changes are massive and significant. In a few cases, your old constituency might even have been abolished completely! 

Your polling card will have the name of your constituency, but if you want to have a better look at what has changed then the House of Commons and Electoral Calculus are a weath of information. 
What do the manifestos say?
There is an enormous amount of information about the intentions of the different parties in their manifestos. We have trawled through all of them so you don't have to, looking with an eye for ideas that affect freshwater environments, access to nature, and planning legislation. 
Fines from water companies used for “River Restoration”
100% monitoring of rivers (no real details given)
Reduction in planning legislation
A new national park and “improvements” for existing ones
Further removal of “EU Red Tape”  that currently protects nature
Further funding for flood defenses
Create nine new National River Walks in England
Restore nature-rich habitats such as wetlands
Monitoring of sewage outlets with criminal charges and automatic fines for illegal activity
Great British Energy will install “thousands of clean energy projects through a combination of onshore wind, solar, and hydropower projects
Liberal Democrats
Mention rivers and the environment in their introduction 
Setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping into bathing waters and highly sensitive nature sites by 2030
A “Blue Corridor” system of protection for rivers
Mandated real time data on sewage dumping
Exploring a right to roam for rivers
Habitat restoration to prevent flooding, including support for farmers to restore waterways. 
Green Party
All planning applications to include whole-life carbon and energy calculations
Support a massive increase in onshore wind and other renewables
Personal rights for the natural environment
Higher levels of protection for 30% of the land and seas
Increased budgets to monitor runoff and discharge into rivers
Nature based flood prevention and river restoration
Plaid Cymru
Investment in flood prevention and mitigation infrastructure
Large scale energy generation projects must consider their context in the natural environment
1 in 6 species in Wales is already threatened with extinction (apparently!) - introduce biodiversity targets aligned with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework
Ensure that planning applications consider the Climate and Nature Emergencies
Scottish National Party
The word river does not appear in their manifesto. The word nature appears once 

Scrap planning legislation that delays developments
Scrap all net zero targets
Rescind EU based laws on the environment
Count Binface
All water bosses to take a dip in british rivers, to see how they like it

Wild Justice have taken a super deep dive into each manifesto - read that here

Our last free flowing rivers and wild places are increasingly under threat from damaging development and loss of legal protections. Save Our Rivers aims to provide those who care with the information and knowledge on how to use existing legal structures to fight back.

Through lodging objections via the planning system and by responding to government consultations we can give the public an effective mechanism to keep the places they value safe. Save Our Rivers believes everyone, wherever they live, should have a voice in the future of our National Parks and wild rivers.