What to do if you spot pollution

All our waterways are vulnerable to pollution ranging from small accidental spills that quickly disperse to major problems causing significant damage to the environment. We have over 500 pollution incidents reported to us every year, costing between £50 and £50,000 each to resolve.

I have seen pollution, who should I report it to?

If you see pollution on one of our canals or rivers, please:

  • Call 0303 040 4040 
  • Contact us in an emergency on 0800 47 999 47 outside of office hours
  • Call either Environment Agency for England, 0800 80 70 60 or Natural Resources Wales, 0300 065 3000

What information about the pollution do we need to know?

When you call us to report a pollution incident, please pass on as much of the following information as possible. This will help us respond to the incident quickly:

  • The name of the canal, waterway or reservoir affected by the pollution
  • The exact location of the incident (eg. number of the nearest lock, bridge, road, etc.
  • The extent and appearance of the pollution (eg. colour, odour, etc.)
  • The potential source of the pollution if it is apparent
  • Whether there are any distressed or dead fish, birds, animals affected by the pollution
  • If you have already reported the incident to the Environment Agency, the incident number assigned by the Environment Agency

We also need your contact number in case we need any further information to help us deal with the pollution.

What we do when we receive a report of a pollution incident?

Our local teams respond to all reports to take whatever reasonable measures we can to contain and minimise the impacts of the pollution. If the pollution is serious, we support the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales who'll lead on responding to the incident. For less serious pollution incidents, we will look after containing and minimising the impacts of pollution.

What else can be done to help prevent pollution?

You'll find more information and advice on preventing pollution on our waterways and reservoirs from The Green Blue and Environment Agency.

Last date edited: 2 July 2019