ANGLERS and conservationists have been left incensed after Natural Resources Wales (NRW) claimed there was no evidence that intensive poultry farms on the River Wye and its tributaries had led to environmental damage.
Two years ago NRW, the Welsh equivalent of the EA, was presented with a scientific report by Fish Legal detailing how the chicken and turkey units were contributing to pollution in the Special Area of Conservation.
It was urged to ‘act immediately’, but it wasn’t until last week that NRW replied, relying on data from 2009-2015 to argue that there was no evidence of a deterioration in the Wye’s status, so no duty on it to act.
In response, Fish Legal solicitor Justin Neal didn’t mince his words, saying: “This is a clear example of a regulator burying its head in the sand. There’s an army of citizen scientists testing water quality on the entire length of the Wye. But NRW isn’t going to take a blind bit of notice. It will continue to rely on its own out-of-date assessments to deny what’s obvious to everyone – the River Wye is deteriorating.”
Wye angling guide Adam Fisher was equally scathing of NRW. “It’s insulting for it to use such old data to claim everything is rosy. Most of the problems have emerged since 2015, and up until 2017 there were lush beds of ranunculus and other weeds, which are now sparse,” he said.