A NEW cross-border working group of agencies, local authorities and other key parties has come together to tackle river Wye pollution.

The breakthrough means there is now, for the first time, a five-year integrated plan to cut pollution in the river Wye.

Phosphates, stemming from industries including poultry farming, has meant environmental targets for the river have not been met, and killing wildlife and meaning the Wye is dying, campaigners say.

It also means the river turns green with the presence of algae bloom.

 

The River Wye at Redbrook turned green because of algal blooms in June 2020

The River Wye at Redbrook turned green because of algal blooms in June 2020

 

Up until now, there has been difficulties in getting all agencies around a table to talk about how to fix the issue.

The new group aiming to tackle problems is the initiative of Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman, who held a meeting key players at the Shell Store in Rotherwas.

Also present were North Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin, senior representatives from the Environment Agency, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, the Water Services Regulation Authority, Welsh Water, the Nutrient Management Board and the three local authorities of Herefordshire, Powys and Monmouthshire.

Fay Jones MP, for Brecon and Radnorshire which the Wye flows across, was unable to attend, but was represented at the conference, Mr Norman said.

The National Wales: Jesse Norman has got agencies and other key parties involved in talks about how to tackle river Wye pollutionJesse Norman has got agencies and other key parties involved in talks about how to tackle river Wye pollution

He said: “Some very good work has been done to cut pollution in the Wye over the years, but I think this is the first time the agencies and local authorities across the border have all come together at a senior level with Welsh Water, in order to manage the problem in an integrated way.

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“It is very early days in this initiative, but there were a lot of ideas under discussion at the conference, a real sense of urgency and a desire to work together."

He added: “The key now is for the group to pull together a properly integrated five-year plan that builds on, extends and accelerates existing work.

"I have made clear that once this is in place I will press the case at the highest levels of government for greater funding and support from the centre, on both the English and Welsh sides.

“This is a long-term problem, but the response needs to be as rapid and effective as we can all collectively make it.

“It starts with the agencies and with local and national governments, but it needs to embrace and support the amazing work of our citizen volunteers up and down the river if we are going to make the maximum impact.”

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