Jesse Norman (Conservative - Hereford and South Herefordshire)
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Ministers in the Welsh Government on pollution in the River Wye.
Rebecca Pow - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1 November 2021
Improving water quality is a government priority. The issues with phosphate pollution in the River Wye are well known. We are working closely with the Environment Agency (EA), Natural England (NE), Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Ministers and local councils to address this issue through multiple channels.
A cross-border meeting about the Wye catchment was convened by Herefordshire Council in September. It is a new group set up to bring together the councillors and officers across all authorities, agencies, Welsh Water, and The Wye and Usk Foundation.
Separately, NE, Natural Resources Wales, the EA and other partners continue to work together, through the Nutrient Management Board and its associated Technical Advisory Group. The board meets quarterly to identify and deliver actions that achieve the phosphorous conservation target of the River Wye Special Area of Conservation. The primary mechanism for achieving this will be through the delivery of the Nutrient Management Plan which will identify measures needed to both restore the site to favourable condition and seek to create capacity for development, without harming the natural environment.
I have also visited the River Wye and attended a roundtable meeting with the hon. Member for North Herefordshire, the Minister of State (Minister for Housing) the Rt Hon Member for Tamworth, local EA and NE staff as well as Herefordshire Council staff held on 13 July to discuss the long-term plan for the River Wye and how we mitigate nutrient pollution there.