The One Show

We were delighted to have seen Ribble Rivers Trust featured on this week’s The One Show, talking about water quality testing and solutions to some of the most common pollution problems with our rivers.

Shown on Monday 4th March 2019, the programme detailed how Ribble Rivers Trust had found issues with high levels of phosphates and bacteria in a stream within their catchment.

During the show, the Trust took a water sample in Savick Brook, in Preston.  This brook flows from the Ribble Valley through farm land and into Preston, before joining the Ribble in its estuary, not far from the Fylde Coast.

Savick Brook is half farm land and half city, which presents problems with phosphate and also bacteria such as ecoli and enterococci.  Phosphate often find its way into river from agriculture, septic tanks and misconnections, as well as sewage works.

Wednesday’s filming for The One Show took place on a stretch of river we use in our Rivers in the Classroom education scheme- the fencing and trees you can see in the background were created as part of our work with the help of volunteers.

Jack Spees, CEO at Ribble Rivers Trust, said: Given how close it is to the Fylde coast this is a problem, as the River Ribble’s water quality can impact on the beaches of the Fylde Coast, which are important to local communities and the economy, as they are major tourist attractions for the area. 

“For the past 4 years, we have been working closely with farmers and communities to improve water quality in this brook and many nearby brooks.  This work has been supported by the Environment Agency, United Utilities and a range of others including the National Lottery Heritage Fund.”

During the show, the Trust explained that by working closely with the local farmers, they can significantly improve the water quality and solve many these issues at source.

Like many of our other local Rivers Trusts, Ribble Rivers Trust use water quality testing and monitoring techniques to locate and solve the problem at source.

Jack continues: “we often go out and test the water quality to monitor any changes within the catchment and some of this testing is done with the help of local community volunteers.

“When we find an issue, we work directly with the farmer, positively, to deliver change which is good for the environment, but also good for the farmer.  This we feel is paramount to the success of improving the water quality of our rivers, and the majority of farmers that we approach, are incredibly keen on finding environmental solutions.”


There are many different types of pollution problems found in our rivers and The Rivers Trust recently released a tool where you can find out the industries effecting your local river and whether they are classed as ‘healthy’. View the tool here and find out what industry has the most impact on your local watercourse.

Here are a few other ways you can get involved with your local river:

Volunteer with your local Rivers Trust- from river guardian schemes, outfall safaris, litter picking, and tree planting-find volunteering events here.

Get your children to learn about their local rivers– many of our Rivers Trusts have education programmes, such as Eden Rivers Trust, who have a number of children’s activity sheets for getting out into your local river.

Get involved in the Freshwater Watch Scheme and get your very own testing kit.

Donate to The Rivers Trust.