COUNTY councillors are calling on the UK Government to take urgent action to avert the environmental catastrophe Herefordshire’s rivers are facing.

The River Lugg is failing to meet environmental standards due to high levels of phosphates in the water and the county has suffered severe flooding several times over the last 18 months.

There is currently a moratorium on housebuilding across most of the north of the county due to the phosphate issue and councillors say the Government needs to step in and address the issue.

Councillors today (March 5) agreed today to ask Herefordshire Council chiefs to write to local MPs and government ministers to request an urgent intervention.

They want the Government to provide immediate resourcing to the Environment Agency and Natural England so that they can address the issues of flooding and phosphate overload which are ravaging the local economy, ecology and communities.

Councillor Toni Fagan, who proposed the motion, highlighted the grave danger the county is facing.

“I bring this motion to you today because I believe Herefordshire faces an emergency so grave and dire that we need full and totally engaged support from our MPs and ministers,” she said.

“This is a plea to those people to ensure that the agencies positioned to address our problems are properly resourced and instructed to convene in urgency.

“Herefordshire is facing the twin catastrophes of repeated flooding and the poisoning of our waterways.

“Climate and ecological breakdown on a real and thoroughly tangible threat to Herefordshire.

“All levels of government must be fully engaged to address this.”


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She also highlighted the impact the moratorium on housebuilding in the north of the county due to the excessive levels of phosphates in the River Lugg is having on the construction industry.

There are currently 112 planning applications on hold, that means 1,600 homes cannot be built in the area.

She also said the county had experienced six floods which took the river levels above 5 metres in Hereford since the year 2000.

Councillor Fagan said things are changing fast as four of these floods were in the last 18 months and two in the last month.

Councillor Elissa Swinglehurst who seconded the motion said it was really vital that the county worked together to address the problems.

“It’s not just agencies working together that will fix this even if they have unlimited funding. It’s not just all political sides coming together,” she said.

“We need to work together as a county. Landowners and farmers need to work with ecologists and hydrologists. Agronomists need to work with scientists.

“We all need to do what we can to understand the problem to become an unstoppable force moving towards a solution.”

All 46 councillors who took part in the debate backed the motion.