A new book has revealed that an increasing number of rivers in urban areas are now so clean that anglers have started to fly-fish in them again.

Many urban rivers were heavily polluted during the industrial revolution and for many decades following, as the country used them as an easy way of disposing of waste. However, many rivers have become so clean that they can once again support aquatic populations, meaning trout and grayling are returning in large numbers.

Theo Pike, who wrote ‘Trout in Dirty Places’, marvels at how the fish have returned to rivers in London, Manchester and Glasgow. He puts the fish’s return down to the vast sums which have been spent on sewage treatment after privatisation a few decades ago.

Mr Pike stated:

“This has been a quiet revolution over the last 30 years, and I have gradually come to realise that in Britain’s towns and cities, there is probably now more water with trout and grayling living happily in it, than without.”

One exception says Mr Pike is the Thames in London, which is still polluted by sewage which overflows from storm water outlets whenever there is over 2mm of rainfall.

He states:

“While the Thames is an awful lot cleaner than it was a few decades ago, it still has major problems in that whenever more than 2mm of rain falls in west London, vast quantities of raw sewage get dumped into the river by the antiquated sewage system,”

To tackle the sewage problems in the city of London, Thames Water are in the consultation stages of a 24 mile-long ‘super sewer’ which when complete, in around 2020, will stop most of the sewage flowing into the Thames.

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