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Government slammed for flood failures

The Government is not doing enough to tackle water issues such as flooding, pollution and restoring rivers, environmentalists and anglers warned today.

The Blueprint for Water coalition, launched by 14 conservation and angling groups said to represent 6 million people, called for measures including reducing water waste, restoring rivers, keeping wetlands wet, retaining water on floodplains, keeping beaches sewage-free and making polluters pay.

It also called for a huge increase in the level of fines for water pollution and the creation of a fund to help urban and rural communities restore river catchments.

The coalition said the Government's Water Strategy, along with the EU Water Framework Directive, the 2009 periodic review of water prices and the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy all gave the opportunity to improve the water environment in the future.

A Defra spokesman said the Government was committed to improving the water environment, sustainability of supply and resilience and preparedness for flooding.

"It is encouraging that the Blueprint for Water coalition has recognised the progress we have made on water metering and promoting efficient water use in homes.

"We are also making good progress in a number of other areas, including tackling diffuse pollution, the transfer of privately owned sewers to the public network, increasing the number of protected sensitive waters, and revising the hosepipe ban legislation."

The Government will publish its national water strategy early in 2008.

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