Clean River Kent Campaign

A large group of volunteers stands behind a collection of bin bags that they've used to collect rubbish.

Our local rivers need protection from pollution. Join our campaign to help keep the wonderful river Kent clean.

The Clean River Kent Campaign (CRKC) is a coalition of communities living along the river Kent in Cumbria, established in Autumn 2021 by a group of volunteers who love our local river.

As well as being a cherished local landmark, the river Kent is designated as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and SAC (Special Area of Conservation) with three protected species – the freshwater pearl mussel, the white clawed crayfish and the bullhead.

A circular image of a grey wagtail on the river Kent, with a blue outline and the words 'campaign background' overlaid.

CRKC’s aim is to make the river Kent clean for all types of water-based recreation and to protect the ecology and wildlife in the river. We work with local communities and nationally with other river groups to campaign for:

– zero effluent discharged into the river Kent. As citizen scientists, we assess the health of the river through ongoing testing of river water samples for faecal bacteria and for those chemicals (nutrients) that disrupt the balance of species in the river. This provides robust evidence to challenge and hold United Utilities and its regulators – the Environment Agency, Ofwat and Defra – to account, and to address other sources of pollution with relevant agencies.

– improvements to the wastewater treatment works on the river Kent, to meet current needs, the needs of new housing development and additional pressures resulting from climate change.

– the protection of the river’s ecology and wildlife.

– a better understanding of the threats to our rivers and what we can do to protect them – see our Declaration of Rights video.

– our representatives locally and in Westminster to share this understanding and support our campaign.

Please read our Q&A document for in-depth information about CRKC and the river Kent. This is a live document and is edited as new information becomes available. We welcome your comments – please contact Sheila.

Have you spotted a suspected sewage discharge?
Here’s how to report it.

WATCH: A celebration of the River Kent and the campaign to protect it, starring local volunteers:

Thank you to our sponsors:

The National Lottery Community Fund logo in pink and black text with a crossed fingers icon.
A logo for the Lake District Foundation, with a white background and green text.
Furness Building Society logo – a pink 'F' on a green background.
Westmorland and Furness Council logo

Patagonia Foundation
Woodleigh Trust

Tim Farron & other individuals and local groups for generous donations