The poultry farms turning the Wye into a “wildlife death trap”
The River Wye is one of the UK’s most iconic and best known rivers. Rising in the Welsh mountains, the river flows through into England, where in its lower stretches it forms the border with Wales. Much of the river valley is classified as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).
Following the recent exponential growth in the number of Intensive Poultry Units up and down the river valley, the rapid environmental deterioration of the Wye made headlines, with the river being described as a “wildlife death trap”.
Reports indicate that over 60% of the Wye is facing an ecological crisis. It is widely believed that unless immediate and meaningful remedial action is not taken, the Wye eco-system will suffer irreversible ecological damage.
The run-off of nutrients from chicken excrement from these farms is believed to have led to a major increase of phosphate levels in the river catchment in the past six years, causing the river to now exceed permitted levels of phosphates under the European Union (EU) Habitats Directive.