A PART of the River Wye is failing to meet environmental standards due to the level of phosphates in the water, according to a Welsh Government body.

Natural Resources Wales research shows the section from Walford Brook to Bigsweir Bridge is failing.

That part of the river straddles the border between England and Wales but is not seen as failing by Natural England and the Environment Agency.

The guidance for setting water quality targets in rivers that are designated for nature conservation is the same in England and Wales.

But different targets are set depending on the characteristics of the river and the technical feasibility of achieving the targets in each section.

There are several waterbodies which span the border and have both English and Welsh targets.

But the section from Walford Brook to Bigsweir Bridge is the only one where the targets do not align.


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Natural England and the Environment Agency say they will be working with Natural Resources Wales to identify shared targets in all shared waterbodies, as part of a review of English targets.

“The River Wye is passing phosphate targets for most of the length in England, with the major exception of the River Lugg tributary where we are currently focussing efforts to reduce phosphate inputs,” a Natural England spokesperson said.

“The English and Welsh targets align in all cross-border waterbodies except one. We are working closely with Natural Resources Wales to understand the differences in our targets and analysis to ensure we have the best understanding of current and long term trends.

“Discussions around site nutrient targets are ongoing between the Environment Agency and Natural England as part of River Basin Management Planning for the River Wye and other designated sites.”

High levels of phosphates in local rivers are believed to be due to run-off from farming and sewage treatment works.