9 November 2021
River Wye: Pollution

Jesse Norman (Conservative - Hereford and South Herefordshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on allocating funding to tackle pollution in the river Wye.

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

Answered on

9 November 2021

The Wye catchment area is internationally important for biodiversity, principally due to the wide range of rare river wildlife. It is vitally important that we achieve the right balance to allow sustainable development to continue and to protect our most important natural habitats.

In the recently-announced Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, Defra has been allocated an additional £250 million to deliver against the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan for nature's recovery and the new legally-binding target to halt biodiversity loss by 2030. This specifically includes tackling nutrient pollution in rivers and streams.

We are almost doubling funding for the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme. This additional £17 million will allow all farms in England, including those in the Wye catchment, access to free 1-2-1 advice and support farmers to help them reduce water and air pollution through management of farmyard manure and soils, among other things.

We have also recently increased funding to the Environment Agency for 50 new farm inspectors. These will be targeted at high-risk catchments such as the Wye.

As well as Government funding, we are also looking to other investment routes to improve the state of our rivers and the surrounding environment. The water sector is investing £5.4 billion to protect the environment between 2020 and 2025 and we have set a stretching new target to raise at least £500 million in private finance for nature’s recovery every year by 2027 and more than £1 billion a year by 2030.