A joint investigation by government agencies into how a protected stretch of the river Lugg near Leominster came to be bulldozed clear of vegetation, has still not reported back more than eight months later. 

Work on the nearly mile-long stretch at Kingsland included dredging, tree felling and re-profiling of the river’s banks.

A legal notice was served at the end of November last year against local farmer John Price requiring him to stop work on the area, part of a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI) due to its value for river species.

Mr Price claimed the work, intended to reduce the risk of flooding to nearby properties, had been partly at the behest of the Environment Agency, which had asked him to unblock a bridge arch over the river following pressure from the parish council.

However the Environment Agency has since said such work would require a permit, which had not been issued in this case.

Together with Natural England and the Forestry Commission, it announced on December 7 that it had begun a joint investigation into the loss of habitat, which it said could lead to legal action.

Officers from the three agencies, along with Herefordshire Council and the police, took evidence from the site at this time.

The Forestry Commission announced the results of its investigation in February, when it concluded that the tree felling had indeed been licensed, and that it would take no further action.

However little has since been heard from the other two investigating agencies. “It remains an on-going investigation,” an Environmental Agency spokesperson said. Natural England did not respond when asked.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, which at the time called the work “a crime against the environment”, said: “We would not want to comment on a live investigation.”