A stretch of bank by a protected Herefordshire river has been cleared of trees and vegetation without prior approval, conservation campaigners have claimed.

Fish Legal has said that government agency Natural England is “investigating another potential case of unconsented damage of a highly protected river by a landowner in Herefordshire”.

In August, anglers “reported trees and bankside vegetation being removed by heavy machinery over hundreds of metres of the river Teme, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)”, it said.

“It is encouraging that Natural England appear to be taking this latest example of destruction of the habitat of another highly valued river seriously.”

It added: “The mature trees that have been removed will take decades to recover and no longer provide the bank stability, habitat and shading for all manner of aquatic species.”


The group does say exactly where the work was carried out, nor does it name the landowner.

A section of the Teme passes through north Herefordshire south of Leintwardine, between the Welsh border at Bucknell and Downton Castle.

A short stretch of the river also crosses Herefordshire around Little Hereford, while a lower section forms the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border north of Knightwick before it meets the Severn, also a protected river, south of Worcester.

The case has strong similarities with that of the river Lugg at Kingsland, another SSSI, where local farmer John Price was prosecuted in May this year for unauthorised bank clearance work in 2020, in a widely publicised case.

UPDATE: Natural England has since confirmed it is working with the landowner.