Opinion: We have forgotten what a ‘natural’ river even looks like

Britain’s rivers are under the spotlight because of an untreated sewage crisis, and the pendulum of floods and droughts that are the hallmark of a warming world. But hidden within these policy debates is a pervasive and under reported issue: quite simply, people have forgotten what a natural river even looks like.

In the UK and most other developed economies, the network of streams and rivers have been managed, and physically altered in some cases, for more than 1,000 years to support more farms and later more industry.

It is no wonder most people do not realize that the rivers they grew up with, fish in, swim in, or simply walk along are nothing like the natural ecosystems they once were.