Hereford MP Jesse Norman has expressed disappointment at measures announced in the Chancellor’s spending review last week, saying they won’t be enough to address pollution in the river Wye.

Mr Norman and fellow Conservative MPs Bill Wiggin, Fay Jones and Mark Harper, whose constituencies the river also flows through, wrote to the Treasury at the end of September calling for the spending review to fund measures specifically to deal with phosphate pollution in the Wye.

This, they said, “is having grievous environmental consequences for marine and plantlife in the river, threatening the wider ecosystem, undermining tourism and recreation, and leading to the imposition of bans on building and other development which are damaging the local economy”.

The four made a formal bid for £10-£15 million to be allocated to cleaning up the Wye, and called for some of the fines levied polluting water companies to be used to pay for it.

Hereford Times: The Hereford Times Save the Wye campaignThe Hereford Times Save the Wye campaign

In the event, the Chancellor last Wednesday announced more than £250 million over three years for a range of measures nationwide, including creating new nature reserves and improving existing sites, as well as tackling nutrient pollution in rivers and streams.

He did not provide further detail on how this would be broken down.

Mr Norman said: “The Government’s commitment to tackle nutrient pollution is welcome, but it does not go far enough.

“In particular, in our own case, it does not address the need to bring the different agencies, local authorities and other bodies together in a way that covers the whole of the river Wye, on both sides of the border.”

He added: “I will continue to press the Government to set up a cross-agency, cross-border task force dedicated to cleaning up the Wye.”


The environmental charity River Action also made a submission to the Treasury to commit to funding “to address the river pollution crisis” nationally.

Its founder and chair Charles Watson said: “It is certainly encouraging that the Government has recognised the level of public outrage around the atrocious state of our rivers and acknowledged that tackling the nutrient pollution in our rivers and streams must be a spending priority over the next three years.

“However, there is absolutely no way that a slice of a total spend of £250 million across three years can deliver anything near sufficient resources to save them.”