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News stories from 2004

Last updated: April 13, 2006.

Since newspapers are constantly rearranging their archives, many of the links on this page are now broken. If you're interested in a particular story and you can't reach it from the link here, try copying the name of the story and pasting it into your favourite search engine.

28 December 2004: Tens of thousands feared dead after Asian earthquake-Tsunami: A devastating, high-speed tidal wave has killed tens of thousands of people across Asia, leaving millions homeless. The International Red Cross/Red Crescent has launched an international emergency appeal; in the UK, appeals are being coordinated by the Disasters Emergency Committee

17 November 2004: Many species at risk of extinction: 15,589 species are now known to be at risk of disappearance, according to the latest Red List from the IUCN, The World Conservation Union.

15 October 2004: Amphibians are in peril: A new report blames climate change, disease, habitat loss, and other human factors for a disastrous decline in amphibians. An estimated 122 species have disappeared since 1980 and 1,900 are in danger of becoming extinct.

7 October 2004: Public urged to act as Environment Agency redraws map of flood risk: The Environment Agency today published the most comprehensive, up-to-date and easily accessible map of flood risk from rivers and the sea across England and Wales. The launch of the new Flood Map marks the start of the Environment Agency's annual awareness campaign to alert the public to the risk of flooding and help people to prepare in advance to minimise the damage.

7 October 2004: Challenges ahead for water quality in Wales: Although river quality in Wales is good, there are "challenges ahead" from sewage pollution, agriculture, and other problems, according to the Environment Agency.

6 October 2004: Most UK rivers will fail EU water quality rules: So much for better water quality: according to Paul Brown in The Guardian: "Despite £12bn spending by water companies on sewage and storm water treatment works over 14 years, 95% of British rivers will fail to meet new European standards for water quality if further work is not done, the government conceded yesterday." Sir John Harman of the Environment Agency conceded: "Around 30% of our rivers, however, still need improvement, and one in six rivers in urban areas are still classed as 'poor' or 'bad'."

5 October 2004: Tourism plan for the Teifi: Improvements totalling £2.5 million are designed to make life better for walkers and cyclists who frequent the Teifi estuary in Mid Wales.

2 October 2004: Divers clean up in Cornwall: Local people in Seaton, Cornwall, are cleaning up the River Seaton. Speaking to BBC News, Tamsyn Butler, of Caradon District Council, said: "We want to help people realise that looking after the local environment doesn't stop where the land ends. Rivers are vitally important to wildlife as well as providing natural beauty for human visitors to enjoy." How did they attract volunteers? By offering free Cornish pasties of course!

29 September 2004: Andy the dolphin boosts visitors in Wearside: A welcome visitor is causing visitors to flock to the North East.

16 September 2004: Mass salmon release boosts Devon stocks: The Environment Agency has released 7000 young salmon into Devon's River Axe.

14 September 2004: Thames threatened with 20 million tonnes of sewage each year: London is living under a sewage time bomb, the London Assembly has heard. The capital's sewage system is now crumbling. See also Wading through London's sewage.

9 September 2004: Dolphins spotted in river Wear!: A dolphin nicknamed Andy has been spotted in the Wear estuary..

1 September 2004: Waterways fail targets: According to RSPB, most rivers, lakes and other waterways in England and Wales are unlikely to meet new EU regulations on water conditions..

20 August 2004: Beach bathers put at risk by summer storms: Heavy summer rain is causing sewage discharges onto British beaches and putting bathers at risk, according to the Marine Conservation Society..

15 August 2004: Water-short world must switch away from meat: Cutting meat consumption is one way to make food and water go further, the 2004 World Water Week conference will hear in Stockholm. More from the Stockholm International Water Institute.

8 August 2004: Prozac and other drugs found in drinking water: The Environment Agency has found traces of drugs in sewage effluent and drinking water. According to Norman Baker, MP: "It is alarming that there is no monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking water."

8 August 2004: The Water4All Project - Cleaner Groundwater For Future Generations: Part of a (Euro)1.4m European-funded project is underway in the River Slea catchment in Lincolnshire to investigate how land use planning can be used to improve water quality. By treating the causes rather than the symptoms, the overall result of the Water4All project will be cleaner drinking water for future generations without the need for expensive and unsustainable "end of pipe" treatment to remove nutrients and chemicals and a more ecological friendly river.

23 July 2004: Native Americans take on Scottish Power: Native Americans traveled to Glasgow to protest about a big drop in salmon numbers on the River Klamath.

19 July 2004: Rivers rising in Bangladesh: Climate change kicking in? More than half of the 64 districts of Bangladesh are now affected by the worst floods in decades.

19 July 2004: Swan upping: The historic, annual swan count is underway on the Thames.

19 July 2004: Otters return to Northern Ireland: A new project is trying to bring otters back to Belfast.

13 July 2004: Bathside Bay inquiry must halt: Friends of the Earth will call on the Public Inquiry into a proposed deep-sea container port at Bathside Bay in Harwich to be halted today because the developer has provided insufficient evidence on the impact that traffic will have on the local road network and the environment.

7 July 2004: Climate change brings chemical threat: Climate change is increasing dissolved organic carbon in British waters, leading to new health and environmental threats, according to a new report in Nature.

6 July 2004: Lorries to drive past homes every 25 seconds: Friends of the Earth is highlighting traffic dangers to local communities if a new port at Bathside Bay, in East Anglia, goes ahead.

4 July 2004: Just let me get my teeth into those fluoride fans: An article in The Scotsman questions the wisdom of adding fluoride to water: "Here's an idea: let the manufacturers pay to add it to all those sweets, sugary and fizzy drinks that are causing the problems in the first place."

2 July 2004: Thames Water fined £50,000 for polluting River Thame: Water utilities company Thames Water Ltd has been fined £50,000 for polluting a five-mile stretch of the River Thame, killing an estimated 15,000 fish in July 2002.

30 June 2004: New tools for flood risk developments: National Planning authorities across England will receive new tools this week from the Environment Agency which should enable them to make more informed and speedier decisions on planning applications in order to steer development away from areas at risk from flooding.

23 June 2004: Plain truth: Oliver Tickell explores the looming threat to Oxford's famous river system from a proposed £100 million flood-relief drain.

22 June 2004: Grey seas issued with satellite telephones: Seven grey seals in Pembrokeshire are relaying their location and diving activity to researchers using satellite transmitters placed on their necks, according to the Countryside Council for Wales.

20 June 2004: World's water taps are running dry: Native Americans traveled to Glasgow to protest about a big drop in salmon numbers on the River Klamath.

14 June 2004: South-East England has less water than Sudan!: New figures from the Environment Agency reveal a shocking lack of fresh water in Britain.

14 June 2004: Turning sea water into tapwater: Plans for a new desalination plant in East London are proving controversial. More from BBC News

5 June 2004: Seas and oceans: dead or alive?: World Environment Day 2004 focuses on the state of our seas. More from Wired News

24 May 2004: Snakeshead invades the Potomac: Invasive species in Washington, DC are strengthening calls for the passage of a National Aquatic Invasive Species Act (NAISA) in the USA.

24 May 2004: Indian dam protesters on hunger strike: 125 activists protesting against the Upper Veda dam are now on hunger strike in Khargone jail in Madhya Pradesh.

24 May 2004: £2 million for Cornish rivers: A new injection of European money could go to to help rivers across Cornwall.

18 May 2004: Endangered crayfish hit by mystery pollution: Tens of thousands of the endangered species were killed at the weekend in Hart Burn, near Morpeth in Northumberland.

18 May 2004: Angling action day to boost fishing: Junior anglers of all abilities will have the chance to learn and improve their fishing skills during ‘Angling Action’ days to be held by the Environment Agency this summer at the Cotswold Water Park.

15 May 2004: River Trent in decline?: Agriculture is drastically changing one of the country's major rivers, the Trent, which flows from Staffordshire to the Humber Estuary. The Trent Rivers Trust is among groups working hard to stop the rot.

12 May 2004: Environment Agency learns lessons from ghost fleet: Friends of the Earth reports some humble-pie eating at the Environment Agency over its handling of a plan to bring rusting ships to Britain last year.

7 May 2004: Devon salmon under threat: Salmon are under threat in the River Exe, according to this story from BBC News.

7 May 2004: British beaches clogged with plastic: A new study will come as no surprise to beach users or cleaners. Microscopic fragments of plastic are choking our beaches. If you're interested in making a practical difference for cleaner beaches, check out the Marine Conservation Society's Adopt-a-beach campaign. Surfers Against Sewage also make a real difference to "coastal cleanliness" and deserve your support.

5 May 2004: 98% of rivers now have fish: A new report from the Environment Agency says "thriving and diverse coarse fish populations are now present in more rivers than at any time in the past century, including their restoration to many previously polluted and completely fishless rivers". Some species still remain at dangerously low levels, however. More on this from BBC News

21 April 2004: Dibden Bay, no way!: Thanks to a determined fight by local campaigners, the British government has seen environmental sense and cancelled the highly destructive new container port long planned for Southampton's Dibden Bay -- a campaign UKRN has followed since 1998. Well done to local group Residents Against Dibden Bay Port (RADBP), who were supported by national groups including Friends of the Earth, RSPB, and others. But campaigners around the UK are still fighting a number of other damaging port proposals. See Portswatch for more details.

21 April 2004: Bathside Bay port inquiry begins: Dibden may be defeated, but another huge port development looms large over East Anglia. An inquiry has now started into the proposed port at Bathside where more than 3,000 birds roost and 1,300 feed in winter. Friends of the Earth, RSPB, and local groups are opposing the plan by Hutchison Ports.

20 April 2004: Stonehenge inquiry draws to a close: Another campaign we have been following closely: Plans for a new road through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site potentially threaten the internationally important rivers Avon and Till in Wiltshire. A public inquiry into the scheme is draws to a close at the end of April 2004.

20 April 2004: Water taxis could cut congestion: Is water power the solution to the UK's never-ending transport problem? Councillors in Hull seem to think so.

18 April 2004: Weather setback for rowing record attempt: Bad weather has scuppered a new world-record bid for rowing the Thames.

17 April 2004: Quick-thinking farmers save Dee from tanker spill: A serious spill on the River Dee has been averted thanks to swift action by farmers.

7 April 2004: Watch out for Whales in Wales: The Countryside Commission for Wales has published a new booklet helping people to spot whales and dolphins.

16 March 2004: AONBs come of age: The Countryside Agency reports on a happy birthday.

16 March 2004: Welsh canals win Grant: The historic Monmouthshire & Brecon and Montgomery Canals are to get a new lease of life that will help boost the area's sustainable tourism potential, Wales’ Economic Development and Transport Minister Andrew Davies announced today

8 March 2004: Baywatch studies Cardiff Bay: A new exhibition traces ecological changes in Cardiff Bay since the controversial development opened four years ago.

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