A new cross-border strategy is needed to clean up pollution in the River Wye, Hereford and South Herefordshire PM Jesse Norman has told Parliament.

Such a move would be “a priceless opportunity for relatively little cost to bring an end to this scourge, and to restore this priceless, gorgeous natural asset to its pristine glory”, he said.

Currently the river “is being undermined by dreadful phosphate pollution” from sewage discharges and animal waste spread on nearby fields, he said.

Explaining that a cross-border approach would be required to address this, he said Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and the Environment Agency “have not been adequately talking to each other” on the issue.

Last week’s Budget and spending review “do not go far enough” in meeting a call he and neighbouring MPs had made to the Treasury to fund concerted action to clean up the river, he added.

Hereford Times: The Hereford Times' Save the Wye CampaignThe Hereford Times' Save the Wye Campaign

North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin added there was “not a cigarette paper” between his and Mr Norman’s views on the “vital subject” of how to address pollution in the Wye.


Environment minister Rebecca Pow said the Government has provided additional funding to increase farm inspections, which “will target areas of particular concern initially, for example, the River Wye”.

“We have also committed additional funding for extra catchment-sensitive officers to work on the ground to tackle land use on the agricultural side,” she said.

Last month Herefordshire councillors voted to seek designation for “appropriate stretches” of the Wye and Lugg rivers as bathing water, and to seek the backing for this from other English and Welsh councils along the Wye.

Ms Pow said on this: “We welcome applications for bathing water designations for both coastal and inland sites.

“If a site were to receive the designation of bathing water status, the Environment Agency is enabled to spring into action and look at what is needed to improve the water quality... including discussing options with [water regulator] Ofwat to explore bringing forward investment.”

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne confirmed that the River Teme, part of which flows through north Herefordshire, “has also been put forward by Severn Trent Water to, I hope, become the second river in England to achieve bathing water quality status”.

Tory MP for Keighley Robbie Moore said that the granting of bathing water status to the River Wharfe in Ilkley, the first UK river to achieve this, has been “a great mechanism for putting more pressure on our utility companies, such as Yorkshire Water, which is discharging storm overflow sewage into the Wharfe”.