The recent 'Rivercide' documentary, about the devastating pollution of the river Wye catchment, on YouTube '', has received a great deal of attention and comment.

It focuses on pollution by the privatised water companies, discharging human sewage into our rivers, often putting profits before water quality.

Also, pollution from agri-businesses, particularly chicken farms, here. There has been an uncontrolled, unprecedented proliferation of the latter, on both sides of the Welsh border.


Chicken manure is several times more polluting than that of other livestock and this finds its ways into our rivers. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of regulation, due to the gross underfunding of the relevant bodies, such as the Environment Agency.

Recently, those who are involved with the designated 'Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' have stated their concern that they may lose this status, due to river pollution.

It follows that such issues might also scupper the movement to create the local Shires National Park: who would want a park with an open 'sewer' at its core?

This begs the questions; how was this allowed to happen and how can it be remediated? Some advocate the renationalisation of the water companies, to more effectively control our increasingly precious and threatened natural resource.

Also, better resourcing of the regulatory bodies; giving them greater powers to control domestic and business development and to investigate and more realistically fine those who pollute. In this direction, there is now a recent moratorium on some residential development, in the catchment.

Meanwhile, it is voluntary bodies, such as the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and their volunteers, which are stepping in to make us aware of the problems and provide scientific support to identify and report on areas of concern.

However, it is very heartening that many landowners and associated interests, in the catchment, 'retain a deep affection' for their waterways, flora and fauna and are equally concerned about current issues. Here, about 50 have recently instigated a meeting with a major local voluntary organisation to express their concerns and offer their support.

Also, it goes without saying that our MPs have expressed their current and ongoing full commitment to addressing the problems of river pollution: central to what should be a concerted team effort. However, the huge extent of the problem must not be underestimated.

Here(fordshire) you can! Here(fordshire) you must!

Richard Bradbury
Much Cowarne

  • How can the pollution level of the River Wye be tackled? Have you views heard HERE