A decision by the UK Parliament not to accept a petition about the River Wye has been met with astonishment.

The petition, titled “Control pollution from agriculture in the Wye and Severn River Catchments” called on the UK government to introduce an immediate moratorium of any new intensive poultry units in the Wye and Severn catchment areas and control river pollution along the river.

However, according to its author, the UK Parliament rejected the petition on the grounds that the issue is solely the responsibility of the Welsh Government

In a tweet, Mark Cheetham said: “So the Wye and Severn are now solely the responsibility of the Welsh government.

“My petition to Control pollution from agriculture in the Wye and Severn River Catchments has been rejected.”

The Wye, or Afon Gwy in Welsh, is the fourth-longest river in the UK and stretches around 155 miles from its source on Plynlimon to the Severn estuary.

For much of its length, the river forms part of the border between England and Wales and runs through the English counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

The decision led many on Twitter to joke that the UK Parliament was ceding several English counties to Wales.

Environmental and political activist George Monbiot tweeted: “This is astonishing.

"A petition about the pollution of the Wye and Severn catchments has been rejected by Westminster on the grounds that they are the sole responsibility of the Welsh government.

“Could someone lend the officials at UK Parliament a map?

“While I fully support the territorial claims of Greater Wales, unlike our parliamentary officials I can't deny the current location of the border.”

Taking no time at all to clarify that the UK and Welsh governments share responsibility for the Wye, a spokesperson for the Welsh Government told The National: “The UK Parliament recently rejected a petition in relation to control of agricultural pollution in the Wye and Severn rivers on the basis that it is a devolved matter. 

“This is not wholly accurate; this is a cross-border issue.  The respective devolved responsibilities only apply to those parts of the Wye and Severn catchments that fall within Wales.

“The responsibilities and functions relating to those parts of the catchments within England are a matter for the UK Government and its agencies.”

It now appears the petition has been reinstated, with Mr Monbiot tweeting: “Congratulations to Mark Cheetham, who has managed to persuade UK Parliament that Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire are in England.

“Following his successful appeal, his petition has been reinstated. Please sign it.”

The petition is available here.

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