The government's plans to weaken restrictions on water pollution failed to gain approval in the House of Lords - however, Kent Wildlife Trust says the attempted amendment to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill has highlighted the need to do more to protect our precious waterways.

As a response to the recent developments, the charity has launched the ‘Save Our Stour Campaign’ to encourage people to speak up for rivers in crisis. Those supporting the campaign are being urged to write and ask their MPs to do more to tackle water pollution.

Stodmarsh Nature Reserve and the Stour River within it are some of the worst affected sites and were therefore categorised within a Nutrient Neutrality catchment area. This Site of Special Scientific Interest now has many areas classed as unfavourable in condition. As more fish and invertebrates begin to die off, less food will be available for the birds to feed on and the value of this reserve for wildlife could be lost.

Daniel Wynn Head of Nature-based Solutions at Kent Wildlife Trust: 'If the amendments had been allowed to go through, the rules would have been thrown out too and developments on the Stour River would have been allowed to continue, regardless of the cost to the river and the wildlife it supports. The Stour can’t afford any more pressure from increased nutrient pollution or residential developments.

'With all this low-grade farmland in the Stour River catchment area, there is a huge opportunity for developers to work with Kent Wildlife Trust to mitigate the effects of pollution and improve the area, but the impetus must be on the government to enforce nutrient neutrality schemes to speed up the process.

'The Save Our Stour Campaign aims to encourage people to write to their MPs and ask the government to prioritise the reduction of river and water pollution and work with us, to find a more balanced solution that allows development to continue without risk or damage to nature and wildlife.'