Background of the campaign:
Brecon and Radnorshire is home to some beautiful rivers which are loved by the residents across the constituency and visitors alike who walk along, swim, fish and kayak in them, but we all increasingly feel deep concern in relation to water quality. We know that water quality in the River Wye and Usk has diminished over the years due to excess nutrients (phosphates) entering the rivers from various sources, speeding up the process of eutrophication, increasing algal growth and inevitably degrading the environment.
Improving water quality in the Rivers Wye and Usk in particular continues to be a complex and challenging task for organisations and governments to support, not least because of the cross-border nature of rivers such as the Wye, which flows from Wales, into England and back again. There are four main factors identified that cause damage to the river quality these include: climate change, sewage discharge, agriculture and urbanisation.
Why is Fay acting on this issue?
In addition to the environmental impetus and need to protect the reputation of the constituency’s renowned rivers, farming and agriculture is an important industry within the constituency which needs further support to identify new ways to reduce the effects on the rivers.
Fay recognises the groundswell of support that there is for positive and decisive action on these issues, and is determined to represent those environmental concerns at every level to protect these rivers for future generations to enjoy.
Given that the Wye in particular flows from Wales, into England and back again, part of the solutions has to be a joined up approach at government and agency level, which is why I have called for a joint task force with representation from Welsh Water, Natural Resource Wales, Natural England, the Environment Agency, DEFRA, Powys County Council, Herefordshire County Council, Monmouth County council, the Brecon Beacons National Park, Dwr Cymru and the National Farmers Union. This need for a joint taskforce was evident through Fay’s call for the May 2023 River Wye Roundtable meeting with the Environmental Secretary, Welsh Government representatives and members of Welsh Water to discuss these issues further. Fay believes if water quality can be tackled correctly farms and businesses can allow for expansion and planning permission for essential housing can be made alongside protecting this environment.
What action has been taken so far in 2023?
· 22nd of June 2023- Fay attends Joint Rivers Taskforce at Welsh Water Roundtable
· 7th of June 2023 – Fay meets with the Levelling Up Secretary to discuss water quality and housing.
· 29th of May 2023- Fay attends River Wye Roundtable with the Environmental Secretary, Welsh Government representatives and Welsh Water
· 16th of May 2023 – Fay meets Welsh Water Representatives to discuss pollution of rivers in Brecon and Radnorshire.
· 7th of February 2023- Fay supports the Angling Trust's latest campaign to increase the numbers of Salmon in the rivers Usk and Wye.
· 30th of January 2023 – Fay welcomes new sewage targets designed to reduce sewage discharges.