On February 10th 2022, Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, visited the River Wye on a fact-finding mission to understand the ecological destruction being wreaked on this iconic river by largely unchecked pollution which has been attributed primarily to the region’s intensive poultry industry.
It was encouraging to see this expression of government interest in one of the country’s most pressing environmental crises, and to hear the minister confirm that improving water quality is a personal priority of hers.
However, it was also disappointing that the minister met primarily with the farming community & their representatives and government agencies, and not with representatives of the many local NGOs and citizen science groups that have been actively working towards resolving the pollution crisis on the Wye.
In an unprecedented move, over 20 of these groups (representing all the major independent environmental groups that are active in the Wye catchment) have now joined together to write to Minister Pow, as well as to local MPs, to urge her to look beyond voluntary farmer-led initiatives and to support the implementation of the ambitious ‘Plan to Save the Wye’ recently outlined by River Action. The groups also urge the minister to meet with them at the earliest opportunity to discuss the issue further.