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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte

Who is responsible for UK river maintenance?

In the UK, the responsibility for maintaining rivers falls to the owner. An individual can own a stretch of river if it runs on or underneath their land. If a river overlaps the boundary of a property, the land owner may be responsible for that too. For a lot of public rivers, it is The Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency that have the responsibility for their maintenance.


River maintenance is necessary in order to manage flood risks, working with local authorities to keep people and property safe. At different times of year, the risk of flooding may increase, so flood defences must be put in place at canals and rivers. River contractors work with the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust. They ensure that river management and maintaining flood safety standards are kept a high priority.

The Canal & River Trust is a charity that works with companies like The Rothen Group (TRG) to make sure UK rivers are safe. TRG provides specialist waterway equipment, competent contractors and river builders who can create and implement an appropriate river maintenance programme.

Responsibility for UK rivers involves reporting to the Environment Agency if there is any flooding, blockages, pollution, or badly damaged banks. It is important that river owners do not obstruct the flow of water. They may have to remove fallen trees or debris in order to keep the flow on its natural course.

Using the natural environment to reduce flooding is called soft engineering. It is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a river. Along with soft engineering, embankments are designed specifically with flood prevention in mind. Flood gates and pump stations are also a vital resource against flooding and TRG maintains and repairs these when necessary.

It is up to the river owner and the local authority to prevent pollution to rivers. In some cases, studies must be carried out to better understand how pollution is impacting the environment. Local authorities have to work with river owners to prevent further pollution. This great work is vital to the ongoing health and usability of UK rivers.

While responsibility for UK rivers lies with the owners, The Rothen Group can support with maintaining and repairing their river. The Rothen Group uses a fleet of specialist equipment and highly trained experts to provide the best marine engineering services possible. If you have a river on your property your first port of call should be The Rothen Group.

You benefit from the best guidance drawn from years of experience by contacting The Rothen Group.

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