Mute swans are protected as wild birds under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act and do not have many natural threats, as they are well equipped to defend themselves against most predators.
The main threats come from pollution of freshwater areas which has been increasing at an alarming rate in the UK. Evidence over the last few years has shown water companies are routinely using storm overflows to discharge untreated sewage into UK rivers and coastal waters rather than treating it. Swans face further threats from lead weights previously used by anglers, fishing tackle, and overhead power lines. Vandalism is a problem in some areas.