26 October 2021
River Wye: Pollution

Jesse Norman (Conservative - Hereford and South Herefordshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) level of pollution in the river Wye and (b) impact of that pollution on aquatic life.

Rebecca Pow Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Answered on

26 October 2021

The Environment Agency (EA) carries out regular sampling of the River Wye to monitor chemical and biological quality. The main sampling season for the impacts on aquatic life is March to September. Recently collected data is available on the Defra Data Services Platform website here:

https://environment.data.gov.uk/appgallery(opens in a new tab)

The last formal classification of ecological status for the River Wye was carried out in 2019. Overall waterbody classifications for the Wye Management Catchment within England were:

  • 72% were at Moderate Status
  • 22% were at Poor Status
  • 6% were at Bad Status.

Where there is new data available a refresh of these classifications will be completed in 2022. Details of these assessments are published on the Catchment Data Explorer website here:

https://environment.data.gov.uk/catchment-planning/(opens in a new tab)

The EA has increased monitoring of water quality and aquatic life in the Wye Catchment in response to deteriorations identified in the 2019 assessments and recent algal blooms within the catchment. The EA is analysing data collected through the growing season this year (March – September 2021) to update its understanding of the sources, pathways and impacts of pollution in the catchment.

Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, the EA and other partners are working together to find effective solutions to restore the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) to a favourable condition with respect to phosphate. These measures are set out in the Nutrient Management Plan which is published here: