THE jailing of farmer John Price for damaging the river Lugg seems to have generated more heat than light.

The judge said that Mr Price had turned a traditional, treelined, meandering river full of life into a canal void of most life.

Some life has of course returned and will hopefully continue to do so but trees shading the river and providing nesting sites were destroyed and it will take decades rather than a few years for the river to fully recover.

In addition, because it is a river, pollution and other damage has consequences downstream. So imagine if other owners of Lugg riverside land acted in a similar fashion!


Because we cannot see it, most of us are unaware of the life that thrives on the riverbed. Mr Price sent an enormous earthmover into the river to dig out gravel and to re-profile the banks.

It is obvious that to undertake work of this kind you need permission from the relevant authorities.

Mr Price knew this and chose to go ahead anyway. He has done a serious disservice to the perception of the farming community. Farmers generally are fully aware of their responsibility to our fragile natural world.

In a fatuous comment, Sir Bill Wiggin opposes the sentence because he informs us that a man convicted of damaging a riverbed is not the same sort of threat to our society as people who burgle, rape or murder.

Two men have recently received jail sentences for their part in the theft of Anglo-Saxon coins from the Leominster Hoard. In theory it could be recovered quickly, as part of it has been, but no such satisfactory outcome is possible for our beautiful river Lugg.



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