Government must 'sort out' River Wye pollution 'once and for all'

  • Jesse Norman MP calls on the government to protect the River Wye

The MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire has called on the government to do more to protect the River Wye.

An investigation by ITV Central in May 2021 found some rivers in the Midlands were carrying up to 50 times the safe level of chemicals in the water.

In September, we revealed that in 2020 alone, 33 years worth of sewage was dumped into the catchment area of the River Wye, which runs through Herefordshire.

Speaking in the Commons this lunchtime, Jesse Norman said more money was needed to protect the river.

He called for a national 'Rivers Recovery Fund' which would be created using fines paid by the water companies.

Water firms are allowed to open the gates to allow untreated human and industrial waste into waterways in emergencies, but this measure is being used more and more frequently.

In response, the Prime Minister said he understood the problems raised, that it is very important our beautiful rivers are kept clean, and that the Environment Minister will be visiting the River Wye very soon.

Natural Resources Wales told us today they have a plan in place to ensure that phosphate levels in the River Wye Special Area of Conservation can be reduced, and that good river health is achieved and maintained, while maintaining economic growth.  

A Defra spokesperson said, "We are updating a comprehensive plan aimed at achieving environmental targets in the area, more funding to help farmers reduce pollution, and a cross-government taskforce which will identify methods for sustainable development around the river."