British Rowing launches new Environmental Sustainability Strategy

Alongside the strategy, British Rowing announces the Rowing Clean Water Partnership with leading river campaigners River Action, The Rivers Trust and Aquascope, a new group dedicated to cleaning up the nation’s rivers


Today British Rowing is excited to launch the British Rowing Environmental Sustainability Strategy, an action plan dedicated to not only safeguarding the sport of rowing, but to preserve one of our nation’s most important resources – our environment.

Read the Strategy

As part of its wider strategy, British Rowing is also partnering with river campaigners River Action, The Rivers Trust and Aquascope to clean up the nation’s rivers.

The latest State of Our Rivers report from The Rivers Trust revealed that currently, not a single river in England or Northern Ireland is considered ‘in good overall health’. Only 15% of rivers in the UK meet the criteria for ‘good ecological status’, over 66% of UK freshwater species are in decline and 10% now face extinction.

The new Strategy and Partnership aim to tackle these key issues through education, empowering our community from grassroots rowing clubs to the GB Rowing Team to conduct extensive water quality testing. To aid rowing clubs in cleaning and protecting their local stretch of water, British Rowing will also be announcing a funding programme in the Spring which will enable clubs to test their water, clean up litter and tackle the increasing problem of invasive species.

With 90% of British Rowing members1 considering sustainability to be important, British Rowing is looking forward to working with their new partners, the rowing community and the nation as a whole to champion a cleaner, bluer future.

Imogen Grant, World Champion, Olympian and The Rivers Trust ambassador said, “The specific things that affect us as rowers reflect the wider problems that are affecting rivers nationwide. For me, as a sportsperson, I am really excited at the potential of bringing about massive change – working towards a long-term goal in small, achievable steps.”

Alastair Marks, CEO of British Rowing said, “The launch of the British Rowing Environmental Sustainability Strategy takes us another step towards tackling one of the biggest challenges facing the future of our sport. We’re looking forward to working with our new partners, the rowing community and the nation as a whole to champion a cleaner, bluer future.”

James Wallace, CEO of River Action said, “We are in a freshwater emergency that demands urgent action. Our rivers are in crisis, dying at the hands of poorly regulated polluters including the water companies and industrial-scale agriculture. That’s why we are proud to partner with British Rowing to help clean up the nation’s rivers. This will involve training rowers, including Olympic medal hopefuls gearing up for the summer games in Paris, to conduct water quality testing that will help us understand the risks to human health and the extent of the problem we face. Together with British Rowing, we will be supporting rowers and communities to pressure polluters and the Government to act with urgency.”

Mark Lloyd, CEO of The Rivers Trust said, “Our recent report highlights the desperate state of our rivers and the threat that places on a thriving future. We are delighted to join forces with British Rowing to add the voice of the elite rowers and the community of rowing clubs across the country to our Rivers Trust movement. Working together, Rivers Trusts in every catchment across the country can use the support of local rowing clubs to help improve their local environment, to tackle sources of litter, pollution, invasive species and to restore healthy and vibrant rivers for everyone to enjoy.”

1. Source: British Rowing Member Survey, September-October 2023.