The Save the Wye campaign is gathering speed and power

By Dilys Merry
28th October 2021

More and more voices are being raised in the fight to save the health of the River Wye. It’s under real threat from the man-made pollution which is causing algal blooms every summer.

The Hereford Times launched its new environmental supplement ‘One Planet’ this month by focusing on the state of the Wye. They aim to draw more attention to the river’s plight and press the authorities for co-ordinated action to address the causes of the pollution. ITV Wales has also focussed on the Wye in a three-nightly series of news items.

Local MPs for Hereford, North Herefordshire, Brecon and Radnorshire and Forest of Dean have taken action in a letter to the Treasury calling for  £10-15 million to set up a cross-border agency with enforcement powers. MPs Jesse Norman, Bill Wiggin, Fay Jones and Mark Harper suggest a body with real power and accountability could be funded by recent fines of Water Boards for pollution incidents.

We also welcome the signs that the poultry industry may be admitting their part in phosphate pollution. Avara foods attended a Nutrient Management Board meeting last week and for the first time accepted they are part of the problem and have a responsibility to find solutions. (Times article 12th October).

Practical actions

We’ve had a massive response to our call for Citizen Scientists to provide valuable data on sites and levels of pollution.  In fact more than 420 volunteers have signed up! Training is now happening area-by-area with Orcop, Hoarwithy and North Herefordshire as the focus this month. And we’re delighted to announce sampling has started on the Rivers Frome, Arrow and Lugg. Friends of the Upper Wye have been busy recording data further up the Wye catchment and in Wales.

CPRE Herefordshire is highlighting the problem by giving talks around the county. A recent talk to Hereford College of Art students formed part of their project ‘The Contemporary Picturesque’. The project challenged the students to compare the Wye in the past with the present reality. Do visit the exhibition (in the foyer at Folly Lane Campus from 1st-14th Nov) to enjoy exciting and inspiring artworks. And as well as speaking to some Parish councils, we’re also keeping busy talking to youngsters in schools!

Three scientists taking a water sample