Yellow Fish


The Yellow Fish Campaign is a national scheme, supported by the Environment Agency that aims to raise awareness that only rain should go down the drain.

By reducing the impact our day to day activities have, we believe this will prevent pollution and blockages of drains, helping to improve our rivers and ensuring the environment can be enjoyed by everyone, including the fish.

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What we are doing

Building on the success of the Werrington Brook Improvements Project and Anglian Water’s ‘Keep It Clear’ campaign, Peterborough City Council are working with it’s partners to raise awareness with our own Yellow Fish Campaign.

As part of the campaign we will be marking yellow fish by the sides of drains on roads around Gunthorpe, Paston, Walton and Werrington to help illustrate the link between the drains and our rivers. The project is set to continue in 2019 as we expand into the wider Werrington Brook catchment.

Leaflets, posters and other promotional products will be distributed to help spread the message to the wider community in Peterborough and keep people thinking about the water environment.

As a wider part of the project, a DrainArt competition was held within Discovery, Norwood and Werrington Primary Schools. The winning designs produced by the children were adapted and recreated on the footpaths next to the schools to help passers-by understand that any water (or pollution) that goes down the drain will end up in the river. 

Mural on pavement at Discovery Primary School
Discovery Primary School

Why we are doing it

Most of the drains you see in the roads take rain water to our local rivers, unfortunately this means that anything else that goes down those drains also ends up in the same place and damages our environment;

  • Pollution from urban environments and industrial estates can seriously affect the water quality both short and long term. This leads to the loss of wildlife and the killing of fish in our local environments.
  • Litter can cause blockages in drains, stopping rain water from entering them and creating ponding on Peterborough’s roads. Litter can also be hazardous to wildlife that live in our rivers.

The following animation highlights these processes and shows the effects that pollution has on the water environment.

What it means for Peterborough

The aim of the campaign is to improve the quality and sustainability of the water environment by raising awareness in Peterborough. As a result this will make our rivers and streams look better, more appealing and means everyone can enjoy these spaces in our city. The Yellow Fish Campaign started in July 2018 and is set to continue in July 2019.

Yellow Fish is built on the success of the Werrington Brook Improvements Project and the brook is a perfect example of where drains lead to in Peterborough! The project began in 2014 with a focus on how the water quality, biodiversity and natural habitat of the Werrington Brook could be improved.

Significant work has been undertaken from February to June 2018 as part of the project's latest phase. In June 2018 the Werrington Brook Improvements Project was awarded with a 'Merit' award at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) East of England Awards 2018. The project was also Highly Commended in the British Construction Industry Awards 2018 and a Winner of the Werrington Neighbourhood Council Environment Award in 2017.

Where the brook was previously a straight stretch of watercourse with very little flow, it has now been re-designed with the addition of natural river features, such as, berms, riffles and wetland ponds.

How you can help

  • Don't pour oils, paints or wash out your DIY buckets down the drain
  • Put your litter in the bin, otherwise it can cause blockages and be hazardous to wildlife
  • Keep your vehicle well maintained to reduce and prevent leaks
  • Use non-toxic or eco-friendly cleaning products to clean your car and house
  • Check what you are allowed to flush, some items can cause blockages and lead to sewers overflowing into your local rivers, your street or even your house
  • Check your bathrooms and washing appliances are not connected to rainwater pipes. 
  • Use fewer chemicals in your garden, these can get washed off into the drains and soak into the groundwater
  • Spread the word and talk to your family, friends and colleagues about our campaign
  • Encourage businesses/organisations/groups/clubs in the local area to feature our poster
  • Or, electronically share our leaflet with people you know
  • Have a look at your local river and see where it is all going, even get involved in your local voluntary groups such as RiverCare
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Reporting pollution

If you witness any pollution incidents, please report this to the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline.

Further information

Other information and examples of the Yellow Fish Campaigns:

Contact the Sustainable Drainage team

Please direct any queries related to the Yellow Fish Campaign to, or alternatively please call 01733 747474.