ON February 9 this year a ceremony took place at the council offices in Hereford to welcome water from the river Wye into the council chamber attended by senior officers of the council and councillors who then made commitments that the council were fully behind any action to deal with the issues of pollution from intensive agriculture and other sources.

On February 13 a planning permission was granted retrospectively for feed hoppers at Bage Court in the Golden Valley that are associated with intensive pig farming which has developed progressively over a number of years at this site that could contribute to the problem of the Wye. No action was taken by the officers to ensure that the activity did not contribute to pollution by requiring the necessary checks and balances.

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In fact, their report actually says that the checks and balances were not necessary.

So, do we have a council who are smiling for the cameras and paying lip service to their solemn commitments or do we have officers who are misunderstanding the message or perhaps never given the message in the first place.

Whichever, it is time that the council took the wishes of the residents of Herefordshire seriously when they say they actually want the river clean again and the sources of pollution to be dealt with in a long-term and sustainable way.