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About The Rivers Trust

The “Association of River Trusts” for England and Wales was launched in 2001 following extensive consultation with existing charitable rivers trusts and other related interests.

The organisation changed its name to "The Rivers Trust" on 2nd August 2011

The need for such a body was a logical extension of the increasing level of liaison that had taken place for some time between established rivers trusts. As a result of the demands placed upon, ART was subsequently incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and granted registered charity status by the Charities Commission in 2004.

Rivers trusts now represent catchments across a large part of England and Wales and new ones are continually forming. In addition, a similar movement exists in Scotland, and there is excellent co-operation with the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS).

RT Principles, Aims and Objectives
The principles of RT are based on:

  • Consent 
  • Subsidiarity - where RT will serve its members
  • Partnership
  • Education and technology transfer

The main aims of RT are, “to co-ordinate, represent and develop the aims and interests of the member Trusts in the promotion of sustainable, holistic and integrated catchment management and sound environmental practices, recognising the wider economic benefits for local communities and the value of education.”

Its objectives are to:

  • Represent and promote the Rivers Trust movement nationally and internationally
  • Develop best practice protocols, within a framework of sound science, partnership, avoiding duplication, consistency and a matrix approach
  • Encourage innovation and the advancement of applied science
  • Facilitate funding and working partnerships between Rivers Trusts and other organisations
  • Guide and assist rivers trusts in making funding applications, either individually or in partnership with others
  • Build capacity and sustainability in the rivers trust movement
  • Form national and international networks to provide collaborative project and development opportunities for rivers trusts
  • Guide and support new rivers trust start-ups
  • Act as a conduit for communication, information exchange and technology transfer through projects, seminars, the web-site and e-newsletters
  • Promote, guide and support good governance and issues of common interest to rivers trusts

RT Seminars & Workshops
Since 2002, RT has run biannual national Seminars and Field Visits in the regions, based on applying best practice and science. These have attracted a wide range of organisations with interests in the sector, as well as existing and emerging rivers and fisheries trusts. The mix of delegates has been particularly satisfying, because it provides a great opportunity for communication, discussion and understanding between the various agencies and others, in a non-confrontational and non-political setting. 

Annual Awards
RT believes that there has been some outstanding and innovative work undertaken by many people and organisations involved with rivers and their catchments. As a result, since 2004 it has promoted a prestigious Annual Awards Dinner, “in recognition of excellence and achievement”, to reward contribution to the growing rivers trusts movement and provide funds for related charitable projects.

RT Funding
RT has been fortunate to receive support and assistance from a number of areas to date including the Dulverton Trust, Environment Agency, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Fishmongers’ Company, WWF in partnership with HSBC, Mazars Charitable Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Salmon & Trout Association, Water UK and membership subscriptions. It also successfully bid for EU Interreg IIIC funds under the Union des Terres de Rivieres project, which is a European networking project involving 24 partners in 10 EU countries as well as current projects under Interreg IVC and IVB, Defra funding and ECSDI. See project pages for more details.

RT’s Future
The Rivers Trust movement is a bottom up grassroots development, initiated by a number of different community groups from around the country working independently to form Trusts. The formation of RT is simply a natural response to mature trusts wishing to share information and work more closely together to help others and provide synergy.

There is an increasing awareness of the importance of rivers for wildlife and of managing catchments and their ecosystems as environmental and ecological service providers. RT provides an opportunity to assist, influence and develop this in a positive way. Improving the river corridor and surrounding catchment is a complex process involving Government Departments, its Agencies and many other diverse organisations.

It is clear that there is a need for a voice to act at a national level to complement regional initiatives and to provide a focus for issues of common interest, such as technical protocols and governance. In addition, RT is dedicated to providing guidance to new and emerging trusts on setting up, pulling together and making the best use of the experience of others, and making the best use of limited resources. RT is committed to building capacity in member trusts, thus maintaining its “bottom-up” philosophy, and seeing a growing and vibrant network of “individually motivated” local/regional trusts across the whole of England & Wales, not just in the traditional salmonid areas.

The Rivers Trust provides an important link between the established, and the new and emerging Rivers and Fisheries Trusts. It also provides a forum to develop ideas, Best Practice and policy guidance and test transferability. Furthermore it offers a national platform for regional Trusts to “showcase” their work, allowing them to inform and give enthusiasm to others, giving advice and encouragement and ultimately, empowerment, “thinking globally and acting locally”.

Equally important is for RT to be outward looking in order to learn from the experience and culture of others, particularly in mainland Europe and USA and provide a gateway for future EU and international funding for the direct or indirect benefit of all our rivers trusts.

For further information please contact:
Arlin Rickard (Chief Executive) Email:
Alistair Maltby (Director - North) Email:
James Sowden (Finance MAnager) Email:

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