We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Noticing change in our environment

In 2018 the Climate Coalition are asking us all to notice the changes in our environment. We’ve asked our ecologists what changes they have noticed along our canals and rivers in recent years.

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Many of us have experienced the surprising sight of early daffodils bringing a splash of colour to our gardens. Other signs of climate change are birds migrating earlier or later than expected, or even the lawn needing a trim in the middle of winter.

With all of this change afoot, the expertise of our specialist environment team who take care of our canals, rivers and all of the nature found along them, is more vital than ever.

"If I keep my ears open and listen above the noise of the traffic, I can hear and then see a kingfisher as it makes it way downstream." Jonathan Hart-Woods, senior ecologist

Thanks to their hard work, we’ve noticed some changes for the better. Jonathan Hart-Woods tells us more:

“A big change has been water quality and how good is it now that we can see salmon running through the centre of Leeds on their way upstream in the River Aire to spawn. Agreed there are still a number of obstacles to be surmounted before they make it, but at least the route from the North Sea, up the Humber and then up the Aire is open.

"Thanks to hydro schemes, flood alleviation schemes and improving water quality in both rivers and canals, we finally have water that can support large migratory fish and all that comes with them. That means otters moving back into urban rivers, along with the ubiquitous heron and more exotic duck species like goosander and cormorant - which I now see on a daily basis from my desk in the middle of Leeds.

A kingfisher, a red kite and a peregrine

"If I keep my ears open and listen above the noise of the traffic, I can hear and then see a kingfisher as it makes it way downstream. If I change focus and look up into the sky above the river, I can sometimes see a red kite and on one occasion I spotted a peregrine cruising up the water course. He was possibly on his way up to the city centre for a lazy urban pigeon supper.

"The rivers and canals have certainly improved in many ways over the last 20 years lets hope the next 20 safeguard what we have now."

Last date edited: 2 February 2018