25 Sep 2019

The BDA is pleased to today join City to Sea, founders of the award-winning Refill campaign, and food and farming charity Sustain to call for a new wave of drinking fountains, to meet the needs of a thirsty nation and reduce plastic pollution. The 50 Fountains Challenge is calling on local authorities, community groups and fountain companies to work together to install a network of publicly accessible fountains across the UK. 

Drinking fountains had gone out of fashion since their Victorian heyday, but with more people wanting drinks on the go, some local authorities and communities have been working hard to bring them back and there are already 344 fountains listed on the free Refill app. With over 400 Local Authorities across the UK, the potential to increase accessibility to drinking water is huge - if they all committed to having 50 public fountains over the next 10 years then we would have around 20,000 drinking water fountains across the UK.  

Caroline Bovey, BDA Chair said: "Choosing water as our main drink helps ensure healthy hydration and with most of us on-the-go, drinking fountains are a great option to top up without getting any sugar or extra calories. The Refill Scheme has already shown good potential for encouraging the free availability of drinking water and these fountains will further support the work being done to promote further roll-out.

"Creating a healthy environment is a key responsibility in town planning decisions and we hope to see local authorities signing up to this challenge to show that they care about the wellbeing of individuals and communities."

Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive of Sustain, commented, "As a country we should be able to step up and tackle problems as we face them. Convenience has led to the rise of plastic bottles, so we must ensure that the healthy, environmentally friendly options are more accessible, affordable and attractive than the alternatives. This is why we need hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of drinking fountains over the coming years, up and down the land. They offer a relatively cheap solution compared to the costs to our NHS of diet related disease and the clean-up costs of plastic pollution which burden the taxpayer and wreck the environment."

Find out more about the campaign and how to get involved by visiting the Sustain website: https://www.sustainweb.org/50fountains/faqs/