Today, the Environment Agency boss warned Britons not to swim in the country’s rivers due to ongoing concern about sewage being dumped into them.

John Leyland, chief of staff at the agency, stated rivers were not for swimming but were there to support wildlife and fish.

This comes after data from the EA agency showed that water companies dumped raw wastewater into England’s rivers, lakes, and seas more then 400,000 times last fiscal year.

Environmental campaigners also expressed concern that only 14% of rivers in England are rated as having ‘good’ ecological health, and none meet chemical standards.

Mr Leyland spoke at an ITV documentary airing at 7.30pm tonight. The documentary examines water quality in the wake of wild swimming being popularized during the pandemic.

John Leyland, the Environment Agency's chief of staff, said rivers in Britain were 'not there for human swimming' and were instead 'for the wildlife and the fish that live within them'

John Leyland, chief of staff at the Environment Agency, stated that rivers in Britain are not for swimming but were instead for wildlife and fish.

Joe Crowley, a reporter, asked Mr Leyland whether people should go wild swimming in rivers contaminated with raw sewage.

Mr Leyland responded, “The rivers we have aren’t there for human swimming.” They are there for wildlife and fish that live in them. The current regulations require that we try to get the water to a suitable health.

“I believe that if we want water that’s safe for human health, then that conversation is a good one to have. But that conversation is much larger.

He said that he doesn’t swim in rivers, and that he would only advise people to use the data and information. I wouldn’t advise anyone to take a risk.

Campaigners for cleaner waters believe that the decline of UK rivers is due in part to raw sewage being disposed there and water companies self-monitoring it since 2010.

A still from one the videos of a river used in ITV's Tonight documentary 'What's In Our Water?'

A still from one of the videos of a river that ITV used in its Tonight documentary “What’s in Our Water?”

The programme looks at how just 14% of rivers in England are rated in 'good' ecological health

The programme examines how only 14% of England’s rivers are rated as having ‘good’ ecological health.

The EA, which is the regulator of the industry, requires the firms to conduct their own pollution testing.

However, pressure groups claim that the EA’s enforcement budget was cut by nearly two-thirds since self-monitoring was implemented. This means that monitoring is limited.

Guy Linley-Adams is a solicitor for the Salmon and Trout Conservation. He said that there is no incentive to report.

What are you going to do if your boss at the central office is giving you trouble because the sewage works has been having some problems?

Crowley also spoke with an unnamed whistleblower during the programme. He was a senior figure at a major water company.

This map from Surfers Against Sewage, part of its Safer Seas and Rivers Service, tracks real-time combined sewage overflows and pollution risk forecasts, and monitors the water quality at over 400 locations around UK rivers and coastlines

Surfers Against Sewage has created this map as part of its Safer Seas and Rivers Service. It tracks combined sewage overflows and pollutant risk forecasts and monitors the water quality at more 400 locations around the UK’s rivers and coastlines.

The person claimed that it was easy to cheat, cut corners, and that they knew when water inspections were scheduled.

The whistleblower stated that while most of the time, sewage wouldn’t be treated properly. However, when we knew that a sample was being taken, we would follow best practices and use chemicals to ensure that the samples passed.

“We’d always find a method to make the samples pass, no matter how we got there… If there was a way for us to save money or find loopholes, we’d do it.

WaterUK, which represents UK water companies, stated that the water industry was one of the most tightly regulated in the country.

“Policies and procedures have been put in place to ensure that wastewater sampling is accurate and appropriate.” All staff at water companies are encouraged and encouraged to report any issues anonymously.

This map from The Rivers Trust shows where sewage enters local rivers. The trust advises people to avoid entering the water immediately downstream of these discharges and avoid the overflows (brown circles), especially after it has been raining

This map is from The Rivers Trust and shows where sewage enters local streams. The trust advises people to stay away from the water immediately downstream of these discharges, and to avoid the overflows (brown circle), especially after it rains.

ITV claimed that its programme could not verify the claims of the whistleblower.

The broadcast will take place as it became clear that the UK’s most important environment legislation will not pass Parliament before the Cop26 climate negotiations in Glasgow.

Jacob Rees Mogg is the Commons Leader and confirmed that amendments by peers to the Environment Bill would be considered by MPs at mid-point in the global climate event on November 8.

It is hoped that the standoff between the two Houses will be resolved next month, and that the Bill will then be eligible for royal assent to become law.

During the programme, ITV reporter Joe Crowley (pictured) also spoke to an unnamed whistleblower, who worked as a senior figure at one of the major water companies

Joe Crowley, an ITV reporter (pictured), also spoke to a whistleblower who was a senior figure at one the major water companies.

After a backlash from Parliament and the public, the Government relaxed its legal controls against dumping raw waste into waterways on Tuesday.

213 votes to 60, majority of 153, the House of Lords approved a proposal to establish a new legal obligation for water companies to ‘take all reasonable measures’ to prevent sewage disposals.

This enabled the Bill’s return to the Commons, where it was amended by the Government.

It will make it a legal obligation for utility companies to’secure an ongoing reduction in the adverse consequences of storm overflow discharges’.

Tonight – “What’s in Our Water?” ITV will broadcast this evening at 7.30pm