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Call for urgent action over seabird pollution

A seabird being cleaned after getting covered in the pollutant PIB earlier this year Credit: ITV News West Country

The RSPB says urgent action is needed to prevent a repeat of the pollution that harmed thousands of seabirds in our region earlier this year.

It welcomes the news that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is to ask the governing body, the International Maritime Organization, to reclassify the substance, PIB, making it illegal to dump it at sea.

But, if it does so, it will take time for the reclassification to become international law and the charity says something needs to be done now.

One of the birds after being treated for the pollutant Credit: ITV News West Country

Dr Brian May praises RSPCA staff in Taunton

Dr Brian May on his trip to West Hatch Credit: ITV News West Country

Queen guitarist Brian May has praised the team cleaning sea birds found covered in a sticky sustance on beaches in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

He's been visiting the RSPCA's West Hatch Centre near Taunton. Dr May is the organisation's vice president. He also joined a rally protesting against the forthcoming badger cull.

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RSPCA calls for investigation into pollution

The RSPCA are calling for an investigation after pollution harmed hundreds of seabirds for the second time in two months. More than 170 birds, most of them guillemots, were treated at the charity's West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton after they were washed up covered in a sticky substance.

They were found as far west as Mevagissey and round to Plymouth, Looe and Whitsand Bay. Many more birds were found dead on the beaches. Experts from Plymouth University have confirmed the chemical as polyisobutene (PIB), the same substance affecting birds in February.

It was bad enough seeing so many birds come to us in such a terrible state last time but for it to happen again and so soon is devastating.

It is a huge concern to learn that it is the same substance coating these birds. It makes you wonder whether it could keep on happening unless a serious effort is made to look into where these spills are coming from and how they can be stopped.

A proper investigation is needed to stop this happening again and again, or else our wildlife are likely to go on suffering and dying.

– Peter Venn, Manager, RSPCA West Hatch

Anyone who finds a bird covered in the chemical should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and should not try to touch the birds or catch them.

FULL REPORT: Surfers against tin

Surfers are campaigning against plans to dredge millions of tonnes of sand from the seabed off Cornwall saying it could threaten the coastline's waves. A Falmouth minerals company wants to recover tin washed out of old mine workings now settled under the sea. Francesca Carpenter reports.

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Water company fined £16,000 for pollution

South West Water
South West Water admitted discharging noxious matter Credit: ITV Westcountry

South West Water has been fined more than £16,000 for polluting the Tamar estuary.

The Environment Agency brought the case after partly treated sewage was released from the Camels Head treatment works in Plymouth in February last year.

South West Water admitted four offences of discharging noxious matter.

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